The ads for's Solo discount service showed a young woman decked out in flashy punk rock attire, with a button that reads "Belsen was a gas" -- the controversial title of a song by the , and a reference to Nazi Germany's .
"It was inadvertent," Bell Canada spokesman Mark Langton said on Friday, noting that the dozen ads were taken down as soon as the company realized its mistake. "Obviously, we would never depict such an offensive slogan in our advertising."
He said Bell officials approved the ads after examining sample images that were smaller than the final billboards. The button inscription could only be read when the ads were blown up to their full size, he said.
"In the proofing and approval materials, it was impossible to see the button, so our folks missed it."
BCE apologizes "for any offense or distress that we caused," Langton said.
The billboards appeared inin , as well as in , which has a large Jewish community and many .