Jan 24

Germany – the land of opportunity

Germany Billboard

Germany as land of diversity and opportunity

This is a great example of turning neutral or even potentially negative factors to advantage. The billboard is powerful and attention grabbing. It also turns three seemingly irrelevant statements into a compelling message.

Stating that your head of government is female or that your foreign minister is gay would seem at best irrelevant and at worst as lacking gravitas – in other words not being of any substance or relevance. Having Maggie Thatcher as Prime Minister of the UK did little if anything to advance female entrepreneurship and “Thatherism” had few if any positive attributes of what was once referred to as “the fairer sex”.

Put the three together though, and a credible theme emerges. A further refinement is to use the familiar slogan of “America, the land of opportunity” and turn this to support the messages implied in the three lines above.

I recall attending a lunch and presentation by Angela Merkel in Hamburg in the early 90’s. We were a select gathering in the Rathauskeller – the smart restaurant in the basement of the Town Hall. Merkel was then Federal Minister for Women and Youth and she had joined the CDU at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. She was a fresh face and still a novelty. It was important for the “Grand Chancellor” of German unity to have some politicians from the now defunct DDR (East Germany) in the cabinet. Few if any at the time saw her as a future chancellor – least of all her political benefactor who she would oust from power some years later.

Enough reminiscing! The lesson to draw from this billboard is: see how you can craft a compelling and memorable campaign, using factors that you see as being either of no relevance or potential weaknesses. Turn those weaknesses upside down and portray them in a different light.

Simon Fawkes
Business to Markets Ltd