A bizarre Moroccan ad – telling people to kill themselves if they don't speak English – was removed last week after intense criticism.
"If you still don’t speak English," the ad said in English, before adding "go kill yourself" in Arabic. A stick figure holding a gun to his head stands next to the text, with the name and contact information of the private English school, British Workshop, listed below.
"This ad is shameful," Moroccan TV host Fayçal Tadlaoui wrote in response to the add, according to Morocco World News.
Responding to the outrage, the school posted on Facebook explaining the intention behind the ad, while also promising it would be taken down.
The school said it had intended the ad to be humorous and clever, not to shock or offend.
"Obviously, some people interpreted it differently. Therefore, the ad will be removed tomorrow," the school wrote.
Many saw the ad as a call for individuals to commit suicide.
Some called it "dangerous"
But others found it humorous
While the school took the criticism seriously and removed the ad, a communications and branding expert defended the campaign to Morocco World News.
"This billboard certainly accomplished more perhaps than the language school intended, as it has everyone talking about it now,” Elisabeth Myers, who also works as a lawyer and is based in the United States and Morocco, said.
"Sometimes marketing has to go over the top to get people’s attention. The stark messaging in this ad does just that, and it’s powerful. It uses an idiom of Moroccan culture to say: Learn English or there is not much point in living," she said.
"It’s simply advertising. While it may be distasteful and certainly not amusing, no one can seriously take this as a call for suicide."
According to 2012 data from the World Health Organization, between 4 and 5 people kill themselves every day on average in Morocco. The report also revealed that the rate of suicides skyrocketed from 2000 to 2012, increasing by a factor of nearly 100 percent.