UPDATED WEDNESDAY, NOV. 25 AT 10:30 A.M.:
Amazon’s latest drama Man in the High Castle, based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, presents a future in which the Axis Powers won World War II. The result is a dystopian future with Germany and Japan taking charge over sections of the U.S.
The drama series premiered Nov. 20, and to promote the debut, Amazon began marketing stunts in New York. One of these promotional stunts included covering a subway with Nazi insignia to show what the country would look like in the show’s fictional future. New Yorkers were not pleased with the campaign.
As of Tuesday, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority decided to pull the ads that caused the online backlash.
An Amazon spokesperson responded to the controversy, saying that the campaign was reflecting fiction and was meant to be “thought-provoking:”
“Amazon Studios creates high-quality, provocative programming that spurs conversation. The Man in the High Castle, based on an acclaimed novel, explores the impact to our freedoms if we had lost World War II. Like Transparent and the movie Chi-Raq, stories that society cares about often touch on important, thought-provoking topics. We will continue to bring this kind of storytelling to our customers.”
Symbols of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany mixed with the American flag in subway wraps on Monday with the hopes of explaining The Man in the High Castle’s alternate future, but subway riders went to Twitter to complain that it was insensitive.
Even though the series is a work of fiction, the marketing stunt hit too close to reality, some said, taking to Twitter to complain about the insensitivity of the imagery.
The MTA told Gothamist that the subway wrap was meant to run until mid-December, but the MTA made the decision to pull the ads on Tuesday after complaints.
Read more at Gothamist.
Brief Take: Live promotional stunts can be effective, but unintended consequences are giving this show extra unwanted attention.