Billboards featuring Melania Trump and the slogan “Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English” have been removed from the Croatian capital after her lawyer threatened legal action.
The billboards were part of a marketing campaign by a private language school in Zagreb, which tried to persuade Croats to learn English by reminding them of the Slovenian-born US first lady’s personal experience.
Trump’s Slovenian lawyer demanded that the billboards, showing her delivering a speech standing before a fluttering American flag, be removed immediately.
“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,” Nataša Pirc-Musar told the Associated Press. “We are still analysing possible further legal steps.”
Trump has hired the law firm to protect her image, which has appeared on various products in her native Slovenia, including cakes, underwear and tourism advertisements.
Pirc-Musar said the school has apologised for the billboards, but that the statement also needed to be published by the Croatian and Slovenian state news agencies.
“We are very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something intended to mock the US first lady,” Ivis Buric, a spokeswoman for the school, the American Institute, said. “It was meant to be something positive, to show her as a role model.”
Buric admitted that the short advertising campaign turned out to be “very successful” because of the wide publicity it received locally and internationally. She said the school intended to put up new billboards, this time without Trump’s image.
Trump was born in neighbouring Slovenia as Melanija Knavs. She left the country in her 20s to pursue an international modelling career before meeting Donald Trump at a fashion week party in New York in 1998.