Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Adopt a German

Matthias and I went to a a press conference last night to kick off the “Adopt a German” competition. Puma is sponsoring a contest to find 12 “ambassadors” who will drum up excitement for the upcoming World Cup tournament. The idea is that these 12 people will keep blogs about their daily lives in their hometown to create interest in the cities where the matches will be held. In May, they will also tour major European cities speaking with people and inviting them to come to World Cup festivities. As I understood it, the “adoption” idea is that the newfound “friends and family” the ambassadors meet along their journey will be so intrigued by the German that they will want to “adopt” Germany/Germans as their own and come for a visit. Honestly I find the title somewhat confusing. This is really more “Germany adopts the world,” but admittedly that title is not as catchy. Overall though, the project is interesting both in terms of a general marketing idea and the idea that Germans are excited about Germany.

For Puma it is a smart marketing idea. I could not have told you before last night that Puma is a German firm. From the perspective of Germany’s image, I continue to be in favor of anything that encourages one to be proud of his/her country. The longer I am here the more I sense that Germans are very proud of their region and/or city but many still feel uncomfortable saying they are proud to be from Germany. When the judges were asked why they were proud to be German last night, some of them were momentarily thrown by the question. It will be interesting to see how much this campaign focuses on city-pride rather versus national-pride. I love that Germans I meet are super excited about their particular city and eager to share what they know. More than 60 years after WWII though, being excited about the whole country is good too! It is interesting to note, however, that this initiative is coming from a private firm and not the government.

Technically you do not need to be German citizen to enter the competition. I think with this blog and my new World Cup Soccer t-shirt (see posting below), I would be a strong contender;-) I wonder what the State Department would say!

11 Comments:

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erin -

Do you think the time is right to encourage Germans to be nationalistic? As I understand it, after WWII, the allies and the initial German government encouraged Germans to play down any nationalistic tendancies . . .

Is my understanding correct?

CJS

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous a little P said...

see here http://www.du-bist-deutschland.de ;-)

I think (in German) :-D
"Liebe dein Heimatland. Stolz sei auf das, was DU geleistet hast." --a little P

 
At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJS -- I don't think there is anything wrong with measured nationalism, not just for Germany but for all countries.

AB

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger eightyone81 said...

You're making a good point here: Being in the US now I always felt weird when people had flags in front of their house or on their car, in germany you don't see that. I think there is a healthy degree to nationalism though. Germans are complainers, hahaha, and because of the history of this country people won't show pride for their country. Most other countries on this planet are waving flags around all the time...

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Hi CJS, nationalism was definitely discouraged in Germany after WWII. The first head of NATO actually said that NATO's purpose was "to keep the Americans in (the alliance), to keep the Russians out, and to keep the Germans down." A professor in Freiburg once said to my class, "Germans aren't nationalistic, we can't handle it."
I think German nationalism today would be good because it shows how far the country has come since '45. Another way to look at this, I think, is that Germans grow up learning so much about the Holocaust that in a sense German nationalism somehow includes a respect and understanding of history and a responsibility to not let history repeat itself.

 
At 6:46 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Eightyone81,
yeah it is really interesting to compare nationalism in the States and in Germany. I remember my exchange student thinking it was totally strange that my German class said the American Pledge of Allegiance "auf Deutsch" every morning.

A little P,
thanks for the link! I love the "You are Germany" campaign, but most of my German friends were not impressed with the commercials.

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Along "a little p's" comment, the Goethe Institute in DC has an excellent exhibit called "The Art of Being German" - http://www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/ver/art/en926641.htm

It plays on certain German stereotypes but also looks into what it means to be Germany and to be proud of that as well.

-Jennie

 
At 4:05 AM, Anonymous Pe said...

Erin, ich selbst bin von dieser Aktion auch nicht sonderlich begeistert. Vielleicht liegt es bei mir und vielleicht auch bei deinen Freunden an einem etwas anderem Verständnis bezüglich dieses Themas. Ich z.B. versuche meine Emotionen schon etwas differenzierter auszudrücken. Dazu verwende ich eine Vielzahl von Begriffen, die für mich, zum Teil nur sich in Nuancen unterscheidende, Bedeutungen haben. Mit generellen Schlagworten wie Stolz alles mögliche ausdrücken zu wollen, behagt mir nicht so. So kann ich z.B. meine Heimat lieben, mein Heimatland mögen, meine Vorväter ob ihrer Leistungen bewundern usw. usf.. Stolz kann ich einfach nur auf Leistungen sein, die ich selber erbracht habe. In meiner Begriffswelt ist Stolz auf fremde Leistungen so etwas wie, "sich mit fremden Federn schmücken".
Nehmen wir mal den Satz: "Ich bin Stolz ein Deutscher zu sein." In meiner Begriffswelt stellt sich sofort die Frage, was ist mein Verdienst daran, das ich das Privileg hatte in einem Land wie Deutschland und nicht etwa in einem Kriesengebiet dieser Welt geboren zu sein? Da fallen mir Begriffe wie Glück gehabt, Dankbarkeit einer höheren Macht gegenüber usw. ein. Stolz kommt mir in diesem Zusammenhang nicht in den Sinn ;-)
Das ist sicher bei anderen Menschen oder auch in anderen Nationen ganz anders ausgeprägt. Ein Grund, jemanden alleine deswegen zu Bewerten ist das allerdings, zumindest für mich, nicht. Für mich ist das nur ein Grund, genauer zu hinterfragen, was jeweils gemeint ist. Beim Hinterfragen bist du ja schon fleißig dabei. ;-) Spitze! :-)

Boha ehj, it's a many german talk at this day. Sorry :-) --a little P

 
At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Do you not think you are all missing the point? It is supposed to be a bit of fun

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Jenny, you are correct; the campaign is supposed to be fun. Maybe it can be left there.

The fact remains, however, that other countries don't have similar campaigns when they host international events (ie. the Olympics.)

 
At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

I don't know Erin. I think Puma are just excited because the world cup is in Germany and they are German company. I see nothing wrong with this. I think they are just promoting their country.

 

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