Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Provocative or plain stupid?

One characteristic of marketing in the 21st century is the way brands are increasingly taking a stance on societal issues. On the whole, I think this should be applauded and I've blogged about various good examples of this in the past.

But the way these good intentions are executed is often far from good. Take the example pictured above, from Weingut Strieth. The owners of this vineyard in Rüdesheim-Aulhausen have decided to take a stand against intolerance and have designed a new label for their Spätburgunder. The intentions are laudable, but I'm afraid that the label design just doesn't do it for me.

Their intention with the "middle finger" gesture and the thoughtfully-copywritten slogan (or is it a brand name?) is to irritate. Well, it certainly rubs me up the wrong way. I had to listen to one of the wine-growers and a radio commentator repeating the thoughtfully-copywritten slogan ad nauseam before 8am this morning on the radio.

Ah, they've achieved their aim, you might think. Disgusted of Bruchköbel is busy putting finger (middle one, actually) to keyboard and complaining about this rebellious affront to decency, bringing the wily wine-makers and their product to everyone's notice.

The thing is, there's irritation of the provocative, powerful sort, and there's the sort of irritation that the Germans call Fremdschämen - to be embarrassed  on a stranger's behalf. The use of English swear words as "cool/trendy and a little bit naughty" has been rampant in Germany for the last few years. It's bad enough when it's second-rate rock stars on casting shows, but when it gets to Angela Merkel talking about a "shitstorm" my cringing Fremdschämen needle goes off the scale.

Swearing in English just makes the wine-producers look as ill-educated and stupid as the Neo-Nazis that they're against.

Why, I wonder, didn't they use the German equivalent of their thoughtfully-copywritten slogan?

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