I would like to draw your attention to a genre that’s blossoming in
Germany. It’s the art of subtle - or pianissimo - print advertising.
The campaign that got the ball rolling years ago was for the Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung. When I was small, and even before that, this great
German national daily had a very neat claim: that there would always be
a clever mind behind the newspaper. What the reader saw was the
silhouette of an open newspaper with a pair of crossed legs beneath it.
Virtually everyone in Germany knew the campaign. And now, decades later,
more ads are appearing with an equally intriguing ’picture puzzle’.
These show the same open newspaper with parts of a person’s body peeping
out. But in each case they are ’hidden’ by other visuals that typify
For example, ads featuring Billy Wilder show the man and his newspaper
sandwiched in between the ’Y’ and the ’W’ of Hollywood. It was an ad
which whetted the German public’s appetite for print advertising again.
Scholz & Friends’ Berlin office, which created it, became famous
Another campaign which has had the German public smiling is Ogilvy &
Mather Frankfurt’s work for the upmarket leisurewear brand, Marco
These feature quotes from biology textbooks about animal behaviour that
bear a strange relationship to what is going on in the ad.
Right now, we’re also rather in love with the tiny and eminently
parkable Smart Car. It just keeps on parking in various European cities
in places where it’s bound to be photographed. Until now, we’ve only
seen the car nicely parked in the print ads, although it is featured on
the move in the television ads. This is a very relaxed car campaign. It
was created by Weber, Hodel, Schmid in Zurich.
I am terribly sorry that I can’t provide a decent lederhosen campaign
for you - like the ads for the Holsten Beer Festival I saw in the London
Underground last week. Somehow, our campaigns are looking very European
these days, and are increasingly wordless. Or they are in English - you
know, that multinational pop language known as ’Take That’ English.This
is how things are a good 12 months before Germany gets the euro. This
time next year, I will probably be talking to you using sketches instead