advertisement, oddly enough

No ‘tyrants’ anymore.

According to the Guardian, a British recruitment firm got into a bit of trouble with the UK’s advertising watchdog because one of its radio ads features an apparently German boss whose spoken German is well, slightly, reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin’s impersonation of Tomenia’s Great Dictator. The ad didn’t go down too well with the Advertising Standards Authority, which eventually pulled it because the humour was “derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people.”

Check out the Guardian’s Mark Sweney’s report on the matter ad listen to the ad yourself – Radio ad banned for implying Germans are ‘tyrants’.

Not that I disagree with the authorities assessment of the use of such a badly sketched stereotype in the ad in theory – but given the cultural importance of Hitler impersonations for the English identity, and assuming  that, by now, most Brits will likely be aware that Hitler is not really the current Chancellor of Germany, I can’t help but wonder to which extent those who came up with the spot, and those who are listening to it, are actually connecting real Germans to such a bad rendition of Chaplin. I doubt that a lot of them were actually thinking, as the authority suggests, “… that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others…” They aren’t – except when it comes to penalties, of course.

But be that as it may, this incident is, of course, really as good a reason as any to link to this compilation of the best moments from Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”  – enjoy.


Clichés galore – unmistakably German.

I usually don’t remember things I read in a newspaper word by word. But I still remember the beginning of an article published in the Irish Times back in 1998. It dealt with the German act in that year’s Eurovision song contest, and my Irish friend thought I should read it.

Germans have a general, if somewhat unfair, reputation for humourlessness.

Unfair indeed… we can even lough about ourselves, and even if the jokes aren’t meant to be backhanded compliments like it’s the case in Citroen’s new C5 spot, produced by EuroRCSG for the British market, and currently available on the net and in cinemas across the British Isles. By the way, when I heard the “unmistakably German” voice over, I realised something else – the car reminded me of the Audi A4… I doubt that’s an association Citroen had in mind.

But back to the the jokes visible to everyone – here’s the youtubed version – enjoy your dose of Germanic clichés.

Allgemein, oddly enough, sex

More on British sex (or the lack thereof)

Today, Reuters offers a possible, yet likely unrelated, explanation for the NHS’s attempts to help her majesty’s citizens to ‘sexercise’ sufficiently. According to the news agency

“half of UK men would swap sex for 50 inch TV.”

According to a survey of 2000 Britons, conducted by the British Electrical retailer Comet, asking what they would give up for a large television, it was allegedly found that 47 percent of men, yet only about a third of women would give up sex for half a year.

Questions of scientific and statistical validity notwithstanding, published just before Valentine’s day, even as a joke, that’s not exactly a compliment for British women…

health, oddly enough

Her Majesty’s Government recommends “sexercise”

According to this article on BBC online, the British National Health Service, NHS, is trying a new way to make people enjoy preventing illnesses rather than having to pay to cure them later. Its NHS direct website apparently briefly offered a document explaining how having regular sex is scientifically considered to be

“a workout worthy of an athlete.”

At least when it’s done with

“a little energy and imagination,”

apparently, a formulation which, alas, leaves one age-old question unanswered – is bad sex better than no sex at all?

On the other hand, if the BBC is quoting the document correctly, maybe the concept of “bad sex” is a little off.

“Forget about jogging round the block or struggling with sit-ups. Sex uses every muscle group, gets the heart and lungs working hard, and burns about 300 calories an hour.” The advice suggests “regular romps this winter” could lead to a better body and a younger look.” [And adds that i]ncreased production of endorphins “will make your hair shine and your skin smooth.” “If you’re worried about wrinkles – orgasms even help prevent frown lines from deepening.”

I suppose at least for one half of humanity, this part of the story may be the best news- headaches and sex actually seem to go together rather well…

“The article goes on to say that orgasms release “painkillers” into the bloodstream, which helping keep mild illnesses like colds and aches and pains at bay.

It’s too bad that the NHS direct apparently had to take the document off their website following the BBC report. Given all those benefits and the NHS’ continuous problems to ration health services justly, the agency should not worry too much about publishing advice contra Victorian mores, but rather start investing in explicit online dating sites or offer discounts for courses on tantric exploration. But for all its benefits, I still somehow doubt they will take this advice…