Famous faces inspire Germany to revive

A television advertising campaign costing £20million pounds is beaming its way through homes across Germany, in a desperate attempt to boost the country’s low self-esteem.

Dubbed the ‘You are Germany’ campaign, the aim is to revive the nation’s gloomy spirits by broadcasting clips of past and current German icons, such as Albert Einstein and Michael Schumacher.

The eminent scientist and motor racing champion can be seen alongside other German-born role models including Beethoven, the boxer Max Schmeling, and the national goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

According to The Times, the campaign’s message emblazoned on billboards, posters and television sets is one of self-belief and national unity, as Bernd Bauer, its organiser describes.

“We want to prompt a new can-do feeling in this country with Germany’s biggest public interest campaign,” he said, referring to Germany’s version of the ‘I’m backing Britain’ project seen in the 1960s.

The declration of "Du bist Deutschland"’ (You are Germany) seems to stem from the country’s ongoing economic turmoil, which rather than fading out as hoped has actually increased, prompting an exodus of youngsters and creative professionals.

This so-called brain drain effect is something that ad campaigner Sandra Maischberger will be hoping to combat.

“A butterfly can cause a typhoon,” said Maischberger, a vocal anchor of Du bist Deutschland.

“Unlikely you say? Then why do you cheer on your team in the stadium if your voice is unimportant? Why do you wave your flag when Schumacher whizzes around the racing circuit? Because your flag is one of many, and out of your voice grows a whole chorus – you are one of many. You are Germany!”

Helping the famous faces spread the feel-good-feeling is next year’s World Cup 2006 tournament, which nationals are proud to proclaim will be hosted mainly in the country’s showpiece cities Munich and Berlin.

Less optimistically, the country remains perplexed by the anticlimax of gridlocked democratic elections, while it continues to resist the assault English language has on German advertising and marketing campaigns.

Promoters of the national language, such as the Goethe Institute, also report a tough time promoting its education to domestic youngsters who, like their peers in France and Britain, are turning away from speaking German in favour of other languages like Spanish and English.


28th September 2005

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