Ever wondered what it would be like if the Nazis had won World War II and America was under Japanese and German control?
Well, hopefully you have not. However, thanks to Amazon’s new ad campaign, you are now forced to imagine what that power might have looked like, because the e-commerce giant has plastered the interior of a New York City S train with the Nazi Reichsadler and the Japanese Imperial flag, to the utter displeasure of most commuters.
As it turns out, Amazon is currently promoting its new alternative history series The Man in the High Castle, which depicts a world where Axis Powers won World War II and United States is occupied by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.
Although the company stopped short of using actual swastikas around New York's public transportation system, the version of the eagle and iron cross the campaign prominently features, along with a variation of the Rising Sun flag, is very similar to the emblem used during the Third Reich.
“Half the seats in my car had Nazi insignia inside an American flag, while the other half had the Japanese flag in a style like the World War II design,” one subway rider told The Gothamist. “So I had a choice, and I chose to sit on the Nazi insignia because I really didn’t want to stare at it.”
Call me crazy, but I think draping your subway in Nazi paraphernalia and calling it advertising is a bad decision.— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) November 23, 2015
While the dystopian show, which is based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name, looks rather intriguing, Amazon’s idea of converting an S train to an SS train seems a little imprudent. Granted it’s a marketing campaign for something that’s purely fictional, but the company must have realized that using fascist insignia of the governments that conspired to kill millions will put off a lot of people.
Moreover, since the Metropolitan Transit Authority voted to ban "political" advertising from the city's bus and subway system earlier this year, Amazon’s latest promotional campaign has raised questions about how political and appropriate it is to advertise Nazi symbols in whichever capacity.
However, the ads meet their requirements of being “content-neutral” or non-political in nature.
“In our determination, these ads are promoting a TV show, which is commercial speech,” said MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg. “They are not advocating a Nazi takeover of the United States, which would be political.”
Other news: Trump condones violence, NYC condones wrapping their subway cars in Nazi symbols in the name of commercialism. Suckiness ensues.— Zoe Archer/Eva Leigh (@Zoe_Archer) November 23, 2015
Let's just splatter real fascist symbolism on trains in one of the most diverse cities in the world: https://t.co/5Talg4hX4d— Melissa Grey (@meligrey) November 23, 2015
"Should The MTA Allow These Nazi Insignias On Subway Cars?" is NOT A QUESTION THAT ANYONE SHOULD NEED TO ASK. https://t.co/YYNKsH7t0L— Mr. Purr, Sir (@xoDrVenture) November 23, 2015
Well, if Amazon wanted to grab people’s attention, it certainly seems to have succeeded. After all, all publicity is good publicity.