Bell Helicopter Blames Someone Else For Its Tasteless Ad

Reuters: Boeing Co. apologised on Friday for a mistakenly published advertisement for its V-22 Osprey aircraft showing troops dropping onto the roof of a mosque in what appears to be a simulated battle scene.
The ad, coming amid rising concern among Muslims over U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompted immediate complaints from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which demanded the withdrawal of the campaign.
But Boeing, which created the ad with partner Bell Helicopter, said publication was a “clerical error” by the National Journal, which ran the ad on September 24.
The ad shows troops rappelling down from an Osprey craft to the domed roof of a building labelled “Muhammad Mosque” in Arabic as smoke billows from a burned-out car nearby.
“It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell,” says the ad, published by Boeing and Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc., which jointly developed the Osprey.
The aircraft “delivers Special Forces to insertion points never thought possible,” says the text of the ad.
The ad “clearly portrays special forces assaulting a mosque, a structure dedicated to civilian worship purposes,” said CAIR executive director Nihad Awad, in a letter to the two companies. “This gives the impression that ‘the insertion points never thought possible’ are Islamic places of worship.”
Bell said it regretted any concern provoked by the ad, and it was looking into its “creative processes” to prevent a repeat.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.