An Italian billboard for Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, depicting a gay couple holding hands, has been described by critics as a “shock campaign”, reports the

The Il Giornale newspaper, owned by conservative anti-gay Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, slammed the ad, which it described as “provocative”. “What’s behind all this? It’s not awareness of gay rights for gay couples. It’s just a brazen marketing strategy,” it said.

It added: “One has to ask what is the point of such a campaign by IKEA… it’s obvious that they are just trying to get themselves talked about,” said the newspaper.

The ad was also criticised by readers on the newspaper’s website, with some calling it a “shock campaign”.

Not unexpectedly, LGBT activist have widely praised the advert.

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