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Du Bist Deutschland...Sig Heil!

231239-257413-thumbnail.jpgThe blogging world is all excited by the latest slogan promoting Germany - "Du Bist Deutschland" ("You Are Germany"). Which unfortunately was also a Nazi propaganda slogan. Well almost. The original 1935 slogan read "Denn du bist Deutschland" - "'cause you are Germany". But the new slogan is close enough to rekindle bad memories for the Germans.

But bloggers don't seem to know whether to be offended by the (accidental) slogan or the fact that the guy behind the promotion describes us as "the toilet-walls of the internet".

"The idea seemed like a good one: an ad campaign to buck up the German spirit and remind the depressive citizens of Europe's largest (but struggling) economy that things really aren't all that bad. Ad agencies, newspapers and a number of celebrities donated some €30 million-worth of advertising space to the nonprofit Du Bist Deutschland campaign launched last September. Ads appeared on billboards and television, in German magazines and movie theaters, and they featured pictures of the German great and good. Beethoven and Einstein made appearances as did the boxer Max Schmeling and figure skater Katarina Witt -- not to mention a luminous photo of a delicate human fetus developing in the womb.

"Du bist Deutschland" was the motto on every picture. "You are Germany." You are talented, beautiful, intelligent, strong. from speigel

The genius behind it, a Belgian, Jean-Remy von Matt, heads up a P.R./Marketing mob called Jung Von Matt. To make things worse he managed to slag off bloggers, calling blogs "the toilet walls of the internet" - not very savvy as blogs are a huge influence on consumer behaviour. Smart advertising agencies and marketers are using blogs as part of their mainstream campaigns. Google "Du bist Deutschland" and there are 2,750,000 entries. It is Top of the Pops on Technorati as well.
Here's a translation of what he said to explain himself and why bloggers are pissed off. It's taken from an email that von Matt sent to his staff and which found its way onto the blogosphere. He's been relentlessly attacked by toilet-wall writers ever since. (And I guess I'm one of them)

My mother taught me to say thanks for a present, even if you have no use for it. I only just realized again how right she was.
Two weeks ago, "You are Germany" ("Du bist Deutschland") was launched, the biggest non-profit campaign of all times and a huge present.

The big publishers made a 35 Million Euro gift of time and space. 30 a-list celebrities gave their time and their faces. We and kempertrautmann gave our time and our hearts.

The aim: to fight grumpyness.

"You are Germany"

The thanks: grumpyness. Which, fortunately, came only from the groups you wouldn't expect anything else from:

1. Our fellow advertisers, busily piping up in trade journals. Many of them find the campaign useless, "because advertising cannot be the adequate way to economically push a nation forward". It is really sad that our trade doesn't believe in the power of communication any more.

2. Weblogs, the toilet walls of the internet. (What on earth gives every computer owner the right to exude their opinion, unasked for? And most bloggers really just exude. This new, lowest level of opinion-forming becomes evident when you search for "Du bist Deutschland" on www.technorati.com.)

3. Intellectual Journalists from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to Die Tageszeitung who do exude their opinion "asked for" in so far as they have verifiable readers, but: "The campaign reaches its cynical peak in the spot showing gay and disabled people on the holocaust memorial in Berlin" (Die Zeit).
Tough luck to have so much on your mind that you completely lose your gut feeling.

By the way: Sebastian Thurner finds the campaign simply wrong.

Wrong, what is that? Even after watching it fifty times I still feel touched, even moved - although I am not even German.

Can that be wrong?
Yours, Jean-Remy

Well mate...if you wanna go down that path, why not just resurrect "Deutschland Uber Alles" and be done with it - "Germany Above All Others". And stamp it with a swastika if you really want to brand it. I daresay that will touch and move a few people.

This guy's copping heaps of flak BTW. "The ads have spawned so much criticism and satire that a Google search doesn't even bring up the campaign's Web site on its first page. People complain in English, German and Dutch -- one rabbi in the United States criticizes the inclusion of Einstein. "Portraying Einstein as a paragon of German national culture should offend all people," wrote Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld in the Jewish magazine Forward. "Were it not for the safe haven that Einstein found in the United States, he, like most of Europe's Jews, would likely have been murdered in the German-led Holocaust."231239-257423-thumbnail.jpg
"'cause You are Germany"

Jean-Remy, you are a complete dumkopf. I don't care whether it's a Nazi slogan or not but calling my fine blog a "toilet-wall of the internet" is going a bit far. Even if I did post a picture of "The World's Longest Turd" on the front page last week. I must have been channelling you.

See the campaign website here at du-bist-deutschland

And look what Indymedia has done with the Du Bist Deutschland logo -

doggie.jpg More on this here at ad-rag.com

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