Fact Check: Zelenskyy Is Not Shown On Times Square Billboard Promoting Vicks Nasal Spray


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Zelenskyy Is Not Shown On Times Square Billboard Promoting Vicks Nasal Spray Edited Video

Did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appear in a Vicks nasal spray ad on a huge billboard in New York's Times Square, according to a video on TikTok? No, that's not true: The alleged video shown on the billboard in the video on social media uses a digital likeness of Zelenskyy and is one of several examples of digitally edited billboards involving him.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok (archived here) by nata__789__ on November 8, 2023, with the caption (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff):

Vicks company ran a nose spray ad in New York: 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-11-10 at 10.12.36 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Nov 10 05:50:43 2023 UTC)

The post shows an animation of a bearded man resembling Zelenskyy, wearing a shoulder patch with the Ukrainian coat of arms, who is shown inhaling through his nose until the screen appears to explode. It then reveals a caption for Vick's nasal spray product.

Screenshots of the alleged advertisement and an authentic image of Zelenskyy used for comparison show the digitally created head with a broader forehead and a thinner and longer neck than those shown in the authentic photo.

Screenshot 2023-11-20 at 9.20.36 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot and President Zelenskyy's official website)

Using Google Maps, the location of the billboard was identified as Times Square, the intersection of 45th Avenue and Broadway in New York.

Vicks is a brand of over-the-counter medications with a large variety of remedies for cough, sore throat, cold and flu, and nasal congestion. However, no such advertisement of the Ukrainian president using Vicks nasal decongestant was published on any of the company's official social media platforms or its website.

A Google news search (archived here) using the terms "Zelenskyy AND nasal spray AND billboard" reveals many past reports of fake billboards and no reputable articles saying that Zelenskyy appeared in a U.S. commercial on a billboard in Times Square despite it being in one of the busiest areas of the city and how newsworthy this would be.

Lead Stories contacted Vicks and will add its response if one arrives.

Lead Stories has debunked several digitally edited billboards involving Volodymyr Zelenskyy (here, here and here).

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