Hitler images cost arts festival funding
ADELAIDE, Australia -- The use of Adolf Hitler's image to advertise Australia's most prestigious arts festival has triggered a $500,000 snub from the country's largest telco.
A black-and-white television commercial shows the German World War Two dictator behind a camera apparently taking a photograph, then with his head superimposed on to the body of the painter Pablo Picasso, and again sitting in a film director's chair.
A voice says, "In 1908 Adolf Hitler was turned down by Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts.
"If only his artistic side had been embraced and nurtured, who knows what he might have put his energies into?
"The arts do make a difference, as you are about to find out."
But this year's Adelaide Arts Festival is now under a cloud because the Telstra telco pulled its sponsorship of more than $500,000 after organizers hesitated to cancel the Hitler advertisements immediately.
Now the commercials have been canned, but the telco appears to be no longer interested.
"Telstra is not prepared to be associated in any way with an organization using this person's name or image to obtain publicity for itself," a spokesman said.
Telstra had been a festival naming rights sponsor for many years until organizers decided this year on a deliberately anti-commercial approach.
It appears they have succeeded beyond expectations.
The festival, regarded as Australia's finest, has already been cut by almost half following a cost blowout, a decline in international tourism since the September 11 terrorist attack, and the demise of the country's second carrier, Ansett airlines.
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