If there is nothing more American than a crafty advertising gimmick, then a school in Croatia might be becoming more American by the minute.
Last week, Americki Institut, an English-language school in Croatia, took out a billboard bearing the face of first lady Melania Trump with the caption, “Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English.”
The school did not bother with the nicety of asking the first lady.
Twitter ensured the advertisement was viewed around the world, giving the school more publicity than it might have expected.
Then Melania Trump saw it and took legal action.
The first lady decided that the school’s scheme to boost enrollment in English classes reeked more of illegality than creativity, and — as a former model who knows the value of her image — sued to have the offending advertisement removed within 24 hours.
The school got the message. The billboard in the Croatian capital of Zagreb is down.
“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 ads,” said Nataša Pirc-Musar, who represents Trump as various businesses in Europe try to capitalize on her fame. “We are still analyzing possible further legal steps.”
Pirc-Musar said the school has apologized, but that the statement also needed to be published by the Croatian and Slovenian state news agencies.
“Just imagine how far you can go”: Croatian school uses Melania Trump to encourage learning how to speak English pic.twitter.com/wOK1B8pX1v
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) September 19, 2017
“We are very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something intended to mock the U.S. first lady,” said Ivis Buric, a spokeswoman for the school. “It was meant to be something positive, to show her as a role model.”
Despite those words, a visitor to the school’s Facebook page might call its response more cheeky than chastened.
In place of the Melania Trump image that formerly graced its Facebook page, there is now a video of 1960s singer Brenda Lee offering the school’s response in the form of the song, “I’m Sorry.” (For more from the author of “Melania Trump Halts Use of Photo as College Replies With ‘I’m Sorry'” please click HERE)