Terrifying German Culture Hour — Advertising

A while ago, I explained how we have fewer adbreaks here in german TV. Of course, we cought up a bit over the years, but it’s still a socialist paradise in comparison. But there is also of course a distinct… german-ness to the ads I was seeing as a kid and young adult. Even when these ads were supposed to take place in a big city in the USA:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfp2Bg6iUdY

I, and probably a lot of my german friends were utterly convinced that this is America. Cars, cool people, sunshine, car telephones, the works. Nothing in this ad struck me as anything but American.

Boy was I wrong. My girlfriend insisted that all the US kids were constantly weirded out by this odd german ad. How can this be? Nothing german ever makes it across the pond, right? Well, I went to the Internet and found out that this is indeed a work by  Pahnke & Partners. („Pahnke“ being such a cliché german name, I still think it must be a subsidy of Pahlgruber & Söhne)

Still, we also had ads that were much more distinctively german. They then mangled Mozart for fun and profit (with very subjective measures of fun):

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1sUSnzgrD4

And yes, every brand needs it’s distinctive jingle, here’s the one for Lagnese ice cream:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkHmMUD6Rdo

(„Nogger“ is, by the way, named after it’s nougat core. Pop culture germany was and often still is ignorant when it comes to how to handle race issues. That slogan roughly translates to „get a Nogger on“, and it still boggles my mind.)

At least, that song got a country makeover to make it better:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsOvjAtBWFw

Eventually though, german advertisers cought on and some brands went for.. something different.

Ever heard of „Einstürzende Neubauten“? (translates to „collapsing new buildings“) If not, here’s a sample of their work:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiQ7IbJEsoE

The lead is Blixa Bargeld, and he did amazing spots for the DIY chain Hornbach:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kdLmXRmEec

In case you wondered: He’s reading copytext from the stores catalog.

Later on, Hornbach goes full on feelings:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk5-bH0WQOQ

And before you doubt me, yes, germans are pretty serious about nails:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtyKNbWpfFw

So, modern german advertising has understood how to do viral buzz. And some agencies are really good at turning a brand around.

I live in Berlin, and Berliners love to complain about the BVG, the state-owned company that runs public transit. In fact, Ton Steine Scherben, the band from a previous installment actually have a song that calls for actual revolution over not paying the tickets:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Zkkm76-_0

Of course, everything is relative. Aforementioned american girlfriend is happy and content that the U-Bahn here isn’t on actual fire:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCyFqsNmsCo

But the BVG social media team has managed to turn things around. They actually run a store where you can buy various things with their trademarked seat pattern. And who wouldn’t want to wear this tanktop?

They also maintain quite the twitter feed and occasionally make even international splashes with their Youtube videos (The only line you need to understand is „Is mir egal“, which translates to „I don’t care“.):

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEYim54pJ00

And of course, classical music:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnXnLeo54FA

Hey, JollyOrc, that is no classical music, that is.. horrible 80ies synthpop!“

Well, you’re not quite correct. This is a cover of „Ohne Dich“, one of the bigger hits during the 80ies, originally by the Münchner Freiheit:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoZ8naG0sj0

Every german in the 80ies knew this song, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t quite a few millenials who got conceived to this..

Of course, the opening salvo for this kind of viral, very german advertising came from Edeka, an until then, solidly square supermarket chain:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxVcgDMBU94

Friedrich Liechtenstein is a bonafide classical actor, artist and all around cool dude. But please, pretty-please, don’t confuse him with this swiss dude:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9z3G-duHdQ

This ad ran so often in german TV that the inevitable happened: A eurotrash music video:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL7-yqFrkWY

 

3 Gedanken zu „Terrifying German Culture Hour — Advertising

  1. ooh, Seitenbacher.. das muss ich dringend in einer der nächsten Ausgaben verwursten.

    @eliasp: Eher immer noch. Anfang 2015 hergezogen, seitdem nicht wegbewegt :)

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