So there are these big billboards in the S-Bahn stations that I see every day as I’m staring out the windows of the train or waiting for them to come. At first I was joyfully immune to the blare of advertizing because I couldn’t understand anything that was written there. Of course, it’s still a huge picture of a person, and pictures of people are hard not to look at.
But it’s gotten worse because I can read more German, but not well enough to just glance at a slogan, read it, and tune it out. No, I can only read half, or I can read all the words but I’m just not certain if it means what I think it means, so I find myself staring at it endlessly, trying to solve the puzzle. And this is TORTURE. All last month this particular ad was everywhere:
Which just says, “Because I want more.” This one drives me crazy, because the guy is looking right out at you, and your brain basically can’t ignore it. And the billboards are so huge and you just can’t avoid staring at this blue-eyed German businessman, tirelessly seeking more and more material wealth and corporate prestige with the help of his trusty bank account and its “excellent property management” and not afraid to tell you.
But now there are these new ESPRIT ads with a bunch of people in stylish new winter clothing holding signs with their wishes written on them. That much I could tell from the train – “Ich wünsche mir…” etc. But then in some of them I could only pick out certain words from their wish, and it was DRIVING ME CRAZY. I hate those people with their stupid wishes written by some marketing focus group! I hate them! And I hate most of all that I don’t know what they are wishing for!
WELL. Things have a way of working out in advertising I guess, because the same series of ads showed up in a sidebar on my browser just now. Forced to choose between taking the time to translate them, or facing more obscure consumer frustration… I translated them.
This is what German people wish for¹ you guys:
“That my book will be published.”
“That all people be generous to one another.”
“Peace and love.”
“Health for my whole family.”
“Love to my brother.”
“A giant snowman made of ice cream.”
“That people realise their happiness.”
“For an airplane ticket to Brazil for Carneval.”
I am truly inspired.
But it gets better. Apparently you can go to the Esprit website and add your own wish until December 31st. And after that they will choose five wishes to be realised! Do you know what this could MEAN???? Quick, everybody go wish for world peace!
So… sorry, I had to get this out of my system. Hopefully these ads won’t annoy me as much now that I know what they all say. But I think they still might.
¹ I say German people, but of course since Esprit is an “international lifestyle brand,” this is an international campaign you can read about here… because of course you would want to. They would like you to believe the wishes weren’t concocted in Don Draper’s office somewhere. I am not so sure.