November 26, 2005

The perils of trying to cheer Germans up about Germany.

The slogan you dream up -- "Du Bist Deutschland -- You Are Germany" -- turns out to be a slogan the Nazis used. You spend $34 million designing a self-esteem campaign, because studies show Germans are among the gloomiest people in the world, very pessimistic about the economy, and then some historian digs up a photograph from a Nazi convention with a banner that has your slogan and an image of Adolf Hitler. Suggestion for a new slogan: Fortunately, Our Problem Is the Economy!

28 comments:

reader_iam said...

No wonder that slogan kept making me think of Leni Riefenstahl!

Talk about those who don't learn from history repeating it ...

Btw, Ann, you are up EARLY! I have a terrible cold; what's your excuse?

Steven said...

Hmm. A parallel is made to the old "I'm Backing Britain" campaign.

So, is that a signal that it will be a bit more than ten years before the Germans elect somebody who will actually turn the economy around?

Michiel said...

Never mind the slogan - it's such a sad thing to have a marketing campaign for your own country. It's such a socialist thing to do (Glory to the Great Soviet People!)

In Holland we've got a I Love Traffic Rules campaign. Not quite as silly, but pretty close.

Ann Althouse said...

"what's your excuse?"

I had a nightmare!

Ann Althouse said...

Michiel: "It's such a sad thing to have a marketing campaign for your own country."

Good point. Usually ads for countries are directed at outsiders, to attract tourists or investors.

reader_iam said...

Re: Nightmare

I guessed it was something like that. Lord, please don't tell me that it involved a pajama-clad horde bearing pitchforks, scythes and those funny lit torches!

Anyway, I hate being awakened by nightmares, myself. I hope you're not nap-adverse on weekends.

Speaking of which, off to try to get a few more hours of sleep. I think the cough medicine etc. is finally kicking in ...

Pogo said...

Here's the actual Nazi phot of the banner "Denn Du bist Deutschland!"

You'd think that to expand the economy and stuff, they'd have come up with something more mystical, like "Arbeit Macht Frei."

Ann Althouse said...

Iam: I never dream that I'm being chased -- not that I can remember.

Pogo said...

That's "photo", rather than "phot" above. Oy.

Maybe it's their language that needs tweaking. Something to make it more peppy, and not so guttural. Maybe by adding a lilt to their speech, more sing-songy.
Ah, fergit it.
They're doomed.

Bob Mitze said...

I ran a European subsidiary of an American company a while back, and I remember a management meeting we held in Switzerland on July 4 when the 5 or 6 Americans at the subsequent dinner gave a loud and partly drunken rendition of our national anthem. Afterward, one of my German employees came up to me and said he wished that Germans had an anthem they could sing and be proud of. Hitler's been dead 60 years now, but he still haunts Deutschland.

Mark Daniels said...

But, Ann, my experience is that the economy isn't the only thing making the Germans gloomy. I wrote about the Du bist Deutschland campaign debacle the other day: http://markdaniels.blogspot.com/2005/11/du-bist-deutschland-and-tragedy-of.html.

Mark Daniels

Ron said...

Boy, if I ever start an evil facist state I'm makin' my slogan, "Have a nice day!", just so future generations will not use it!

Ron said...

The other day I dreamt that David Lynch was Secretary of State...was that a nightmare? Perhaps...


and don't get me started on the dream I had where I was absolutely convinced William S. Burroughs had written a sitcom...

Ann Althouse said...

Bob: He will still haunt them in 1000 years.

Ron: Good fascist dictator joke. There aren't that many of them.

EddieP said...

Pogo

Arbeit Macht Frei has been changed in Deutschland. It is now Arbeit macht dumm.

The Wirtshaftwunder of the 60's was the goose laying the golden eggs. It was based on hard work. The socialists turned Germany from a country churning out golden eggs to a country that quit work to wait and watch the goose do her magic. As the goose slowed down, they all jumped on the goose and squeezed her to lay more eggs. She finally could produce no more and the country went into the deep malaise of James Earl Carter. I actually have more faith in the ability of the Germans to turn it around than I do the French to turn their mess around, but I fear for the Turks and other minorities in Germany.

Mark Daniels said...

By the way, Ann, it was a $34-million campaign, rather than one for $3.4-million.

Mark

Ann Althouse said...

Mark: Thanks. I knew that, but must have been distracted by some other dollar amount I've been blogging about lately.

XWL said...

Surely there's a David Hasselhoff song they can adopt as their national anthem.

(If not then, Rock Me Amadeus)

And as far as a slogan, can't think of anything but, "We Promise, We're Good Guys Now"

(that can probably be expressed in two words in German)

Finn Kristiansen said...

Did someone (XWL!!) just mention the classic pop stylings of Falco? I think XWL is on the right track here with Falco, and I would add "Der Kommisar" as the alternate anthem that would do just the thing to pick up German spirits.

Hear The Children
Don't Turn Around Oh Oh
Der Kommissar's In Town Oh Oh
He's Got The Power
And You're So Weak
And You're Frustration Will Not Let You Speak

Don't Turn Around Oh Oh
Der Kommissar's In Town Oh Oh Oh
And If He Talks To You
Then You'll Know Why
The More You Live
The Faster You Will Die


I've often thought what the Germans need to do to get that national "up with people" feeling is to maybe, I don't know, start a war. You'ld be surprised at how one little invasion can really be a pick me up. And there is France, just sitting there, cities aflame, waiting for someone to lend a gentle teutonic hand.

Slogan:

Finn Kristiansen said...

Slogan: "It hurt us as much as it hurt you. Punishment is over. Come back to the bosom of Mamma Germany"

IHP said...

To be precise: "Cause You are Germany" has a slightly - however crucially - different meaning than "You are Germany". The new slogan does not refer to a nationalistic cause whatsoever. I don't envision Leni Riefenstahl when I see this (admittedly unfortunate) phrase nor do I fear a new facistic movement when USA for Africa's "We are the world" is being played in the mall. Asking for the more or less moral support of all is not a typically German phenomenon at all (e.g. http://www.gao.gov/about/history/wecan.jpg)

Even though I agree that any phrase that was used in the Nazi era shold be locked up securely, I'd wish that people would focus their energies on finding a positive reading rather than ghost hunting. A look at the context might help.

Pogo said...

Re: "I'd wish that people would focus their energies on finding a positive reading rather than ghost hunting"

I doubt many people suspect some hidden fascist resurgence because some obsure Nazi slogan got resurrected. And civic pride sloganeering is by no means the exclusive domain of communism or fascism, it's just harder to pull of in the Age of Irony.

Rather, it's just, well humorous to watch the Keystone Kops-like idiocy here. Given their famed sensitivity on the issue, didn't it occur to anyone to oh, run this by people who might know? Sheesh.

They should just get it over with and reincorporate as Freedonia or something.

Troy said...

In line with Pogo... What if Hitler was the first to use the phrase "Have it Your Way" Is Burger King a fascist regime (McD managers need not answer).

If Germany wins the World Cup cannot the announcer say Germany uber alles without thoughts of goose steps and Parisian arches?

Ann -- perhaps you're right. Hitler's stain will last a millennium.

Steven said...

Really, what they need to do is de-unify. There's nothing particularly logical about a united Bismarckian Germany-sans-Austria, and the historical record of a Germany that includes both Munich and Berlin is less than shining. So, say, re-divide East and West (but leave all of Berlin in the East), then split West Germany on the old boundary of, say, the North German Confederation.

East Germany, West Germany, and South Germany would all share the Euro, EU passport, and the EU customs/immigration regime, after all, so the practical problems would be manageable. With Austria they'd comprise the Four Germanies, and while collectively they'd be the heirs of the Nazi past, none of the four would be individually identifiable as the primary descendant of either the Second or Third Reichs.

richard mcenroe said...

Steven — Back to Churchill's Pumpernickel Princedoms, eh?

Netwallpapers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alexander Ebel said...

It's a bit late, but just for the record: Falco was Austrian.
;-)

Gimme A Chance? said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.