‘Belsen was a gas’ not a great copy line

Bell Canada is begging forgiveness after featuring the line “Belsen was a gas” on billboards that went up during the Jewish New Year. The line, the title of a Sex Pistols song, referring to Bergen-Belsen, the German concentration camp, appeared in the ads on a button worn by a young Japanese girl outfitted with various punk-style accessories. Bell Canada officials say they couldn’t read the words on the small proofs they saw. “It’s a bad ad on any day, perhaps particularly so this week,” says a spokesman. “It was unintended. The reality is we would never knowingly run an ad with an offensive slogan like that.” Here are the Pistols playing the song live at one of their last shows, in 1978.

—Posted by Tim Nudd