Update (September 19, 2:50 p.m.): Lawyers for first lady Melania Trump threatened to sue a Croatian language school that marketed itself with billboards and Facebook ads featuring Trump and the slogan, "Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English." The ads were taken down Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
"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," attorney Nataša Pirc Musar, PhD, told the AP. "We are still analyzing possible further legal steps."
A spokesperson for the Američki Institut, the language school in Zagreb that used the ads, said the intent of the billboards was to showcase Trump as a role model, not to mock her.
"We are very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something intended to mock the U.S. first lady," Ivis Buric, a spokeswoman for the school, told the AP. "It was meant to be something positive, to show her as a role model."
This story was originally published on September 15, 2017, at 2:50 p.m.
A language school in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is upping its game in the new school year by employing an unlikely marketing strategy: Using first lady Melania Trump as an example to recruit potential students who might want to learn English.
On Thursday, the Američki Institut in the city of Zagreb shared a picture of its new billboard on Facebook. "We’ve entered the billboard game," the school proudly announced in the post. In the photo used for the ad, the first lady is dressed in white and standing in front of the American flag, with a slight smile on her face. The caption reads, "Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English."
Interestingly, the ad shows Trump giving her speech during the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016. That was when she was accused of plagiarizing sections of former first lady Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
That point aside, the billboard is confusing. On one hand, it seems to suggest that learning English is an automatic path to success (and while knowing multiple languages can help in areas like your career, it's not a guarantee.) On the other hand, the wording seems to take a shot at Trump. She doesn't know "a little bit" of English — she's fluent, and the fact that she has an accent doesn't detract from it.
We don't know why the school is banking on this billboard as its marketing strategy or to what extent it will be successful in recruiting students. But just imagine how far it would go if its ad were less icky.