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.

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

that person.

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

of words.


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content