I was riding the London bus today, on my way back home from work, when we passed by a giant billboard that advertised the Nissan 370Z. What caught my eye was the play on words that Nissan had decided to use. The ad displayed the good-looking Nissan 370Z and sported in big, bold letters the following slogan “Deutschland, Deutschland, über-rated.” This clearly plays on the famous opening line of Das Deutschlandlied, composed by Hoffmann von Fallersleb, which has served as the national anthem of Germany for many years.
I was immediately struck by the utter arrogance of that ad. Not only did it make a direct attack on a country’s technological excellence, but it also trivialized a slogan that is so frequently related to the Nazi past — one of the most painful and shameful periods of history for all Germans.
Although I distaste advertising that goes head-on against a competitor brand, I understand it is oftentimes effective and very necessary in industries marred by fierce competition. However, it is one thing to attack a brand or a company, and a completely different thing to attack a country and a nation. And all this happening in the age of globalization, open borders, and open mindedness!
When I came home, I checked online and found out that this ad is a part of a whole marketing campaign that the UK unit of Nissan has launched against its German rivals. That only added to my growing disapproval of the Nissan brand. It made me feel good that a few years ago I chose to buy an Audi A4 – even though the Nissan 370Z was in my consideration set.
For some, this ad may sound like an ingenious and very cool play of words. For me – and I am sure for many other people, not least most Germans – it just sounds like an example of bad taste in advertising.
The ad was very effective in one way, though – it definitely imprinted the new 370Z on my mind and made me do some research about the brand. Whether I would ever consider buying that car any more — that is a completely different question.
So what do you think? Let me know your thoughts…