It certainly gets the message across, doesn’t it?
A recent spate of announcements by the Berlin City Tourism Department has ruffled some feathers – and critics point to one announcement, in particular.
“The index finger up for all those without a mask,” reads the ad, which also features the image of a woman brandishing her middle finger. “We obey the rules of the crown. ”
In response, Visit Berlin reportedly withdrew the ad of its largest “Berlin Gegen Corona” (“Berlin vs. Corona”) campaign which is currently popping up across the city.
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Visit Berlin, the official tourism website for the German capital, published the campaign in September along with a series of public service announcements aimed at encouraging tourists and locals to wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic In progress. The campaign message, which was also endorsed by the Senate Department for the Economy, Energy and Public Enterprises, also specifically targeted restaurateurs and bar owners, who are currently subject to a number of regulations. on coronaviruses regarding capacity, spacing and hours of operation.
“Berlin’s range of interesting restaurants, bars and pubs is legendary. We want to keep this together, ”said Burkhard Kieker, Managing Director of Visit Berlin, in a press release issued at the campaign launch in September. “The raised index is not well received in Berlin. That’s why we want to pick up Berliners with their own sense of humor. ”
Christian Tänzler, a representative of Visit Berlin, had also confirmed to the BBC that his use of the term “index”, despite the woman in the ad clearly waving her middle finger, was an intentional choice.
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But while many found the ad funny, some weren’t that tickled.
“The Senate seems to think that insulting people is more effective than strict and clear rules with effective controls,” Lorenz Maroldt, editor-in-chief of Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, told the BBC. “They have completely failed. ”
Even Michael Müller, the mayor of Berlin, said the announcement was “embarrassing”, German newspaper Deutsche Welle reported.
Tänzler later apologized if the ad offended tourists or Berlin residents who were medically prohibited from wearing a mask and who might feel offended.
Then, on Wednesday, the ad was withdrawn entirely, Reuters reported.
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The campaign’s other ads, which aren’t as direct, will continue to appear citywide, a Visit Berlin representative told Reuters. Among the remaining announcements is one which claims the city’s coronavirus recommendations are “easy to remember even after five beers”, while another urges viewers to keep their “masks on” if not. Berlin’s lights will “go out”.
The messages are currently appearing on virtual billboards and at bus stops in popular tourist spots in Berlin. The campaign is expected to run through March to help “get through fall and winter without a new lockdown.”