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H&M English-Only Advertisement Sparks Controversy

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H&M English-Only Advertisement Sparks Controversy

H&M Advertisement Lækjartorg

Photo: Jelena Ćirić

A giant shopping bag advertising the upcoming opening of H&M has been the source of much controversy for its lack of Icelandic, RÚV reports. The advertisement, which has been placed in Lækjartorg square in central Reykjavík, contains the phrases “Grand Opening” and “see you in Smáralind” written only in English.

Eiríkur Rögnvaldsson, Icelandic linguist and professor of Icelandic at the university of Iceland, stated in a Facebook post that the advertisement is in violation of a law which states that advertisements targeting Icelandic consumers must be in Icelandic. He states the City of Reykjavík should not have granted permission to the advertisement and points to a lack of leadership in upholding Icelandic language laws. Eiríkur stated he has sent an inquiry to the Consumer Agency of Iceland, which is responsible for enforcing the law, but has yet to receive a reply.

H&M opens its first store in Iceland at Smáralind mall, in the Reykjavík capital area, on Saturday. Selected guests have been invited to a pre-opening party on Thursday which will feature food, drink, and live music, as well as 20 percent discount on purchases.

The advertisement has also received criticism for its appearance on social media.

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