The CDU wants to reposition itself with a new logo and in turquoise, Secretary General Carsten Linnemann announced this week. “ZDF Magazin Royale” took the opportunity to take a closer look at the country’s political image campaigns. And Jan Böhmermann makes a harsh judgment in the end.

The presenter admits that the show had actually been planned for a long time. But the new CDU campaign was the perfect starting point for political branding. Or as Böhmermann evilly calls it: “PR for things that are at the end.”

The moderator was so optimistic at the beginning. “There is good news for those interested in politics: the time of disorientation is finally over. It’s all about content and strong ideas for a Germany with substance,” he announced. To then joke about the new branding of the CDU with its arch that stands for upwind and the new color “Cadenabbia”.

“As a lifelong Christian Democrat, I am of course now asking myself a few questions,” says Böhmermann with a smile about the new turquoise paint job. “Does a fat, expensive PR campaign really help against our programmatic, our political disorientation?” he wonders on behalf of “his” party. “Can we finally destroy the Greens, or halve the AfD?” From his point of view, the answer is of course: yes.

But the CDU is not alone with the idea. Whether at the state level, for metropolitan regions or individual areas: everyone now has their own image campaigns. “We need our smartest, our smartest, our thinking elite”; explains Böhmermann. “We need people to whom we can give a lot of money so that they can tell us where Germany is going, with us.”

That’s why we took a closer look at the campaigns. “We really binged our way through all the PR and marketing campaigns of German metropolitan regions, districts and federal states. It was hell,” said Böhmermann. “But what exactly Germany should be now – we still don’t know.”

This is also because the campaigns are so interchangeable. Whether in the English-language advertising clip for “En-Ar-Dubbleju” – i.e. North Rhine-Westphalia – the “Ruhr Metropolis”, whether advertising for Schleswig-Holstein or the “Metropolitan Region of Hannover Braunschweig Göttingen Wolfsburg”: They all advertise with the same promise of research, science and the future.

He shows how generic the campaigns are with a clip. “Which federal state is this about?” he asks before playing. Only to then discover that dozens of meaningless excerpts from clips from Bavaria to Sylt had simply been mixed together. “We can be glad that the Georgian presidential palace didn’t slip under it,” is another swipe at the CDU’s mistake.

Not all campaigns are aimed at Germans. “The measures of the campaign in 2022 were primarily aimed at the target market of India,” confirmed the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry to “Magazin Royale” in response to a written query. The actually marketed slogan “The Länd” for the federal state suddenly makes more sense. Or not? In any case, there is enough budget for this. “According to the State Ministry, the advertising campaign costs a total of 21 million euros,” Böhmermann quoted the “SWR”. “There are almost as many cultures in the metropolitan region of Hanover, Braunschweig, Göttingen, Wolfsburg.”

But modern slogans don’t have to be better. “Nice people, nice landscape, nice food: like Instagram in real life” can of course only describe one federal state. That’s right, it’s about Rhineland-Palatinate. “What does that mean?” asks Böhmermann. “A country with an unrealistic photo filter, intrusive sex bots, everything full of El Hotzo tweets and always three weeks behind Tiktok – is that really Rhineland-Palatinate?”

Then it’s better to use a quote from a campaign about the Erzgebirge: “It’s sickeningly beautiful,” it says, referring to a quote from the painter Otto Dix. But he was referring to Lake Constance.

It started with “You Are Germany” in 2008. Countless celebrities and ordinary citizens came together to promote positive identification with their own country. “We have rethought the whole of Germany. With the power of marketing.” The music reminds him of Forrest Gump, Böhmermann reflects. And, based on the famous quote from the film, he jokes: “Germany is like a box of chocolates: mostly brown, made for old people and containing a surprising amount of alcohol.”

Some of the participating celebrities also get one in person. “We have the courage to tell the truth,” says Böhmermann – and shows a picture of Xavier Naidoo, who is prone to conspiracy theories. “We are researching” – a picture of Böhmermann’s former employer Harald Schmidt, who was recently in the headlines because of a party photo with right-wing conservative mouthpieces. “We have a subtle sense of humor,” with a picture of Oliver Pocher. “And sporting success,” to Bayern boss Oliver Kahn, who was fired in the summer.

At the end there is a sad conclusion. Even years later, nothing has changed as a result of the campaign. “18 years after ‘You are Germany’, we have not only remained Germany, but have become even more Germany.”

Quelle:ZDF Magazine Royale