CAMPAIGN REPORT ON GERMANY: Creative gold - Stefan Schmidt introduces a handful of his favourite German TV ads over the past year

Welcome to news from the land where the railways work, the

pavements are clean and Beckenbauer's sons prepare to take the football

crown from the French. Ohh, you really want to read something new? OK,

so let's bin a couple of prejudices right here.

1. German football is so dominant because they play it so beautifully


Last week Germany lost its fourth qualifying place for the Champions

League. Simply because German teams didn't win enough. Which proves: all

that glitters isn't gold anymore.

2. German ads are weak because they seek to inform, not entertain.

I'd like to introduce you to a few German commercials from the recent

months, some of which were highly awarded at the Art Directors' Club von

Deutschland last weekend, which hopefully will convince you that all

that gets gold there isn't crap.

In the first we see a class of young pupils. Their teacher asks them:

'What do you want to become?' Then we hear the typical answers from the

boys and girls: astronaut, archaeologist, ballet dancer ...

While we hear the answers we see one of the boys daydreaming and looking

out of the window. He sees the new Coupe from Mercedes-Benz, a man

getting in and driving off. The dreamer doesn't notice that the teacher

is asking him repeatedly what he wants to become. When he suddenly

realises, he turns and smiling at her, says: 'Eighteen!'

For me, this is a simple plot based on a simple human truth. (Yes, they

build a couple of excellent cars in the heart of Europe. Still


Just as simple, but for an American invention is the following. A

locked-off camera focuses on the face of a young man who has just sat

down in a dentist's chair. The dentist's assistant places the 'saliva

sucker' in his mouth and we immediately hear its slurping sound. The

dentist comes in, prepares to start work and casually asks his

assistant: 'By the way Gabriele, what are your plans for lunch today?'

She answers, 'I'm not sure, maybe I'll go to McDonald's.' Immediately

the slurping sound of the saliva sucker gets very loud.

Back on the road again. We see a beautiful road in the countryside in

the summer. It's empty. And we just hear the sounds of birds and


In a split second we see a motorcycle speeding along the road. But we

just see it. After a long pause we eventually hear the sound of its

engine and a voiceover tells us: 'Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R.'

OK, I admit Germans seem to love the achievements of engineers most

(forget the McDonald's ad for a second) because the last spot I found is

again for a car.

We see an Elvis fan riding in his old street cruiser. He's listening to,

of course, his hero. A miniature Elvis is stuck to the inside of the

windscreen and moves its pelvis everytime the car rattles and shakes as

the driver changes gear.

But it's a very old car. So it breaks down. The charming Elvis fan has

to hitch a lift and gets picked up by a lady in an Audi. Even though

he's shy, he asks her to put on his Elvis cassette.

They continue travelling with the sound of the King of Rock 'n'


The Elvis fan grows in confidence. He pulls out his Elvis figurine and

proudly places it on the Audi's windscreen. But it doesn't rattle and

shake. Even when the lady changes gear. Nothing. No Elvis the


Our friendly fan doesn't mind and flicks the little figure with his

hand, smiling. A voiceover tells us that Audi now has the first stepless

automatic gearbox.

The fifth spot I would like to introduce is ... ooops, sorry, I'm

actually not allowed to do so because I promised Campaign that I would

select only one ad from Springer & Jacoby, Hamburg. But there is a great

ad for Die Welt newspaper. If you are interested in seeing it, give me a

call and I'll send it to you.

And if someone out there just doesn't want to get rid of their

prejudices about Germany, watch this one: Munich, 1 September, 7.30pm,

World Cup qualifying match, Germany v England. Germany will win and

prove you right. And, yes, you can go to Munich by train.

You'll make it on time.

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