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Spitfire Ale extends controversial WWII ads for World Cup

LONDON - Spitfire Ale is giving it to the Germans in its latest Viz inspired ads as it unveils its latest WWII inspired press campaign to coincide with the Fifa World Cup, which begins in Germany on June 9.

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Shepherd Neame, brewers of Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale, has commissioned a series of cartoon strips dubbed 'The Road To Berlin', drawn by Viz cartoonist and Roger Mellie creator Graham Dury.

The cartoons, which will appear in the Evening Standard until the end of the World Cup on July 9, tell the story of Tommy, an English footballer holding off competition for the coveted Jules Rimet trophy from some surrendering Italians and a German super-sub called Fritz.

The ads feature the tagline, 'Free pint for every Russian linesman', a reference to Geoff Hurst's controversial third goal against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final, which was adjudged to have crossed the line by Russian linesman, Tofik Bakhramov, despite doubts from Swiss referee, Gottfried Dienst.

Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Shepherd Neame, said: "The strips are part of our continued investment in the Spitfire brand and its relation to major sports events.

Tailor-made adverts have already run in the Evening Standard's Boat Race, Grand National and London Marathon supplements and football-themed adverts will appear in the Standard's forthcoming World Cup guide.

Spitfire Ale, dubbed 'The Bottle of Britain', is notorious for its controversial World War II themed press and TV ads, which have previously featured Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill and various other WWII references in light- hearted ads.

Previous Spitfire Ale straplines have included, 'Clear Skies Since 1945', 'No Nazi Aftertaste', 'First Left, Third Reich' and 'Not For Messers Schmidt'.

It is not the first time the UK's brewing industry has drawn on WWII as a source of inspiration for its ads. In 1989, Carling Black Label commissioned a Dam Busters themed TV ad.

The latest Spitfire Ale ads are unlikely to be welcomed by the government or the English FA, which has warned England fans not to chant World War II inspired songs like 'The Great Escape' theme tune and 'Ten German Bombers' or antagonise German fans about WWII at World Cup games.

It is illegal to pose in a Nazi uniform, goose step or perform a Nazi salute in Germany.

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