A recent newspaper advertisement promoting a gathering of Indian boarding schools featured an image of Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the German president, instead of an actual Indian boarding school. The advertisement, published in Hindustan Times' Delhi City edition on October 1, 2023, was brought to public attention by the India TV Fact Check team.
The ad, placed by the Afairs Education Group, invited parents to a "Mega Gathering of India's Leading Boarding Schools" but showcased a photograph of Bellevue Palace, a historic 18th-century palace located in Germany. This error was quickly identified and addressed by Philipp Ackermann, the German Ambassador to India, who took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to fact-check the advertisement.
Ambassador Ackermann clarified that the building featured in the ad "is no boarding school" and emphasised that it serves as the official residence of the German President in Berlin, akin to India's Rashtrapati Bhavan. Adding a touch of humor, he quipped, "There are good boarding schools also in Germany - but here, no child will be admitted."
India TV Fact Check's investigation verified the presence of the misleading advertisement in the e-paper version of Hindustan Times' "Delhi City" edition, corroborating the oversight. A user's social media post sharing a photograph of the newspaper further confirmed the ad's publication.
A visual comparison of the image used in the ad and the Bellevue Palace on the official website of Berlin city revealed an identical match, cementing the inaccuracy of the advertisement.
Despite attempts to seek a response from the Afairs Education Group, there has been no official comment or acknowledgment of the error. The gaffe has also drawn humorous reactions and trolling from social media users in response to Ambassador Ackermann's tweet.
This incident highlights the importance of accurate representation in advertising and the need for vigilance in media campaigns to avoid such misleading and embarrassing errors.