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Citroën "Unmistakeably German" Ad.

Nazi Eagle Insignia
Here we go again - Nazi allusions in advertising. Citroën are running this cheesy spot in the U.K. - complete with Nazi eagle insignia, the autobahn, a road sign in gothic script not seen in Germany since the end of WWII, The Brandenburg Gate and Hitler's favourite composer Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" playing underneath. I'm surprised they didn't have the actor in a toothbrush moustache and be done with it. Agency: Euro RSCG

Nazi Insignia

Wikipedia has this to say about the Brandenburg gate -

The Brandenburg Gate's design has remained essentially unchanged since its completion even as it has played different political roles in German history. After the 1806 Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Napoleon took the Quadriga to Paris. After Napoleon's defeat in 1814 and the Prussian Parisian occupation by General Ernst von Pfuel, the Quadriga was restored to Berlin; and Viktoria's olive wreath was exchanged for the Iron Cross, so that she became Nike, goddess of victory. When the Nazis ascended to power they used the Gate as their symbol.
Brandenburg gate

Oh yeah...it's always amused me that the English way of pronouncing Citroën comes out sounding like the French word for lemon. In French, Citroën is pronounced "Sit-ro-enne" not "Sit-rone". That's why there are two little dots over the "e" - known as an accent tréma - used when two vowels are next to each other and both must be pronounced.

A Citroën spokesperson had this to say -

It's a very controversial advert and I'm sure people will see the humour in it. It's very striking.

Yeah...we're laughing all the way to the bunker.

Citroën also have this naff How much of a Kraut are you? test on their website.

As Basil Fawlty would say -

Don't mention the war - I did once but I think I got away with it.

Tvs Worst Adverts says -

Citroen have squeezed in every hackneyed, out-dated, and in some parts borderline offensive cliché about Germany that they could fit into 90 seconds

I note that the Neo-Nazis on the White Pride site don't mind this Ad. at all -

I love that add,best add i have seen in years Blond hair white man driving on hitlers roads with his favourite music in the background.

Is EuroRSCG aware, I wonder, that all Nazi and neo-Nazi regalia and insignia are banned in Germany?

But they do glibly say on their website

Citroen - Different is everything - irritate people

Quite. It's different that they haven't bothered to use the accent tréma over the e on Citroën too. Turning it into a citron.

I like the new Citroën C5 apart from the chintzy chrome badge on the front of the bonnet. Its a lot better-looking than the last C5 which was very boxy and seemed to be a great favourite of silly old buggers in cardigans and cloth caps.

Few years back I owned a 1977 Citroën CX Break - a station-wagon - which like all Citroëns, had its quirks but had hands-down the best ride of any car I've owned - and I've owned a lot. It ran on the famous green dragons oil hydraulic suspension and you could dial your settings in - raising and lowering the suspension. But I tended to forget that it sat back down on its haunches when parked. I once stashed several surfboards under the CX when I slept in the back of the wagon on a surf-trip and woke up to a breakfast of squashed surfboards.

BTW it's 60 years since the Citroën 2CV rolled off the assembly line. Three long-lost TPV prototypes - the forerunner of the Deux Chevaux were discovered hidden in a French barn in 1994. They'd been under bales of hay for 55 years to keep them from the German invaders.

Good review of the C5 here from Fifth Gear -

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Reader Comments (7)

I think everyone it to sensitive about it. It is a lighthearted joke!
June 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMil
Americans don't get irony .... I am British and work on a major US defenc(s)e contract, and we are warned : "Don't be ironic, they don't understand it and get upset" Our fellow EEC member, Germany however actually have an uber-dry sense of Ironic humo(u)r, and are doubtless p*ssing themselves over this ad.
As to the pronunciation of Citroen, even you MUST see the irony in a remark made by an American about the correct pronunciation of words ;-)
August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGordon Millar
Poor old Germany. Forever linked with Nazis and WWII no matter what. There is nothing regarding Nazism in this advert! Sure there are cliches in it but that's the point! It's "unmistakeably" German! Just as having a bloke on bike wearing a stripey t-shirt with onions hung around his neck is unmistakeably French. Most people (although clearly not you) don't take stereotypes seriously.

The eagle reference is not Nazi - it's older than that. The Nazis adopted older symbols, they didn't create them. And as for your comment about the Brandenburg Gate - are you suggesting that German should demolish every bit of architecture that might offend?

I'm guessing the target audience for this advert is the British as it taps into all our stereotyped ideas of Germany. However, just because something is a stereotype doesn't make it bad. This advert made me want to visit Germany and I'm going next year. I'm sensible enough not to expect accordion-playing blokes in lederhosen to serve me wurst.

You seriously need to get a sense of humour.
October 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEW
@ EW

You seriously need to get some brains.

"Poor old Germany. Forever linked with Nazis and WWII no matter what. There is nothing regarding Nazism in this advert!" No nothing at all. Silly me. What was I thinking.

"And as for your comment about the Brandenburg Gate - are you suggesting that German should demolish every bit of architecture that might offend?" Nope moron. But that is a full-on Nazi symbol if you care to research it or follow up the link.

"I'm guessing the target audience for this advert is the British as it taps into all our stereotyped ideas of German." Well give the moron a banana. Its the Brits who keep perpetuating this image of Germany. Funny to you. Deeply offensive to them. Can I put it any plainer?
October 3, 2009 | Registered CommenterMalcolm Lambe

Let me spell this out for you.

This is an advertisement by a FRENCH company, taking a good natured dig at Germans. Did you get the punch line at the end? Made in France? Did ya? Starting to make sense now, is it? I'll let you think about some more.

And just to repeat the (to those of us who do have functioning brains) obvious, there are no Nazi symbols in the ad. The eagle if anything is the Weimar eagle, symbol of the (much detested by nazi's) Weimar republic. See for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_Germany#Weimar Republic. The assertion that the Brandenburg gate, built in 1788, is a Nazi symbol is ludicrous beyond deserving a response. Or maybe Reagan gave his speech there and Kennedy and Obama pointedly visited it because they're such ardent Nazis, afterall?

I'm afraid the only link to Naziism here is being formed by the little bigot inside your head for whom Germany=Nazi. Perhaps this is a teachable moment on learning to "know thyself"?
March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCK

I can assure there is no love lost between the Germans and the French. I live here. The Germans are still pretty much despised by the older generation. Bit different for the younger people.

It may be an ad by a French company but its made in the UK by a British ad firm. The "humour" doesn't travel across the Channel.

No Nazi symbols. yeah, right. You need to research more peanut. Just vecause the gate was built in 1788 as you claim , doesn't mean it wasn't associated with the Nazis. Same goes for the eagle.

But you're right about the British being bigoted towards the Krauts...and the Frogs...and the Eye-ties...and the Ruskies..and the Chinks...the Japs...the Yanks...the Aussies. The stereotype list goes on and on. Wears a bit thin after awhile.
March 16, 2010 | Registered CommenterMalcolm Lambe
... as a German I really like that clip a lot - Actually most of the people I know like that kind of humour as the sterotypes are so far removed from German reality that no one could actually be offended here. By the way, stylised eagles and the Brandenburg Gate are being featured on all German Euro Coins - calling that Nazi symbolism is a bit far fetched (to say the least).
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStefan Noa

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