The Croatian billboard ad which went global all the way to The White House has been removed, reports The Guardian on September 19, 2017, accompanied by a musical apology.
If the goal was to attract global publicity on a shoestring budget, there are few examples in marketing history which have had such a viral effect.
The advert, for an Engish-language school in Zagreb, featured First Lady Melania Trump, with the caption “Just imagine how far you can go with a little English” quickly went viral, dividing public opinion along the way, until word of the advert reached First Lady Trump herself, and soon after, her lawyers.
As reported earlier today, the lawyers have threatened legal action and demanded that the billboards be removed within 24 hours.
(Photo source Americki Institut Facebook page, since removed)
That has now happened, according to The Guardian:
“I’m satisfied with the fact that the school admitted that they violated the law and that they are ready to remove the billboards and (Facebook) ads,” Nataša Pirc-Musar told the Associated Press. “We are still analysing possible further legal steps.”
The language school in question, Americki Institut, has also removed all mention of the campaign from its Facebook page, offering – it would appear – a form of apology, with the latest post a video of the 1960’s hit I’m Sorry, by Brenda Lee.
Will the apology be enough for the American President’s wife? Time will tell.
Was the whole stunt worth it for the language school? With just over 3,600 Facebook fans, and each post averaging 5-20 likes on its page, it would appear that the school itself did not benefit proportionately from the global publicity. Whether or not the price to pay will be somewhat greater remains to be seen.