Identity: Peter Martin on false sense of home in advertising

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From ›Preiß'n‹ to ›Mia san Bio‹: Why do companies in Munich prefer to advertise using small-state Bavarian kitsch? Please stop it!« writes journalist Jan Stremmel in one of Germany’s leading newspapers, the Süddeutsche Zeitung. »It started with the girlfriend from Berlin. She looked at me almost in horror and asked: ›What’s wrong with you all?‹« Later on, Jan Stremmel brings up Martin et Karczisnki »Peter Martin sees things in much the same way. He manages a large brand agency in Munich. He is irritated by the clumsy way in which Munich’s regional pride is being rehashed for advertising. ›A sense of the homeland is a simple yet effective tool to give brands identity,‹ he says. ›Unimaginatively so in many cases.‹

So a few months ago, Martin launched a campaign called ›Mia san mehr‹. As a sign of cosmopolitanism and tolerance, his agency put up posters at several points in the city depicting the young monk figure ‘Münchner Kindl’ from the city’s coat of arms together with symbols for all five world religions. The ›Open Kindl‹, or ‘open child’ was sold as a stencil, gym bag and poster, with the proceeds going to a refugee project.

›We wanted to express the opposite of this false pride,‹ says Martin. ›We have nothing against Munich, but it’s annoying when advertisers relentlessly peddle this sense of home. Be tolerant, and don’t pride yourself quite so much on coming from Bavaria! The world is a big place and it is enriching to have people with different views of the world living in Munich.‹«

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