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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Ad campaign to lift German morale
By Ray Furlong
BBC correspondent in Berlin

Campaign poster showing Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is among the many famous Germans featured
Germans are being told to cheer up and think positive in the biggest non-profit advertising campaign in their history.

The move comes as Germany remains stuck in political deadlock after the 18 September election.

The campaign features a host of celebrities, including goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and former East German ice skating champion Katarina Witt.

"You are the miracle from Germany" says one of the campaign slogans.

"A butterfly can start a typhoon. No one's too small to make a difference," the campaign film goes on.

"Do you think that's unrealistic? Then why do you cheer for your football team when your voice is so unimportant?"

Mixed reaction

The campaign is being supported by posters on the streets and adverts in newspapers featuring famous Germans like Albert Einstein and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Ex-GDR ice skating champion Katarina Witt
Olympic champion Katarina Witt was a GDR golden girl

It has all been organised by Germany's top media companies, publishers and TV stations.

The reaction so far is mixed.

"I think it's horrible," commented one woman.

"I don't know if I got the message - it's like 'you're Germany'. What does it mean? You're the power of Germany or you have the power to form Germany, or to improve Germany? I don't know what the message is."

But a man told me that "optimism is needed in Germany because people here are very uncertain - people are asking themselves 'Where is this country going?'"

The two-minute opening film also admits that Germany has problems. As it puts it, things don't exactly taste of candyfloss at the moment.

That is a bit of an understatement for a country with record unemployment, ballooning public debt and political deadlock after the elections.

Helmut Newton ad in campaign
Helmut Newton - famous for his pictures of nudes - loved Berlin
But the chief organiser, Bernd Bauer, says the campaign makes sense.

"We have real problems and we can't change these problems with a campaign. But part of the problem certainly lies within the German mentality.

"You know, we simply tend to see things even more negatively than they actually are, and that's where we want to initiate a change and that's one of the reasons for this campaign."

The campaign also features children chanting "Du bist Deutschland!" ("You are Germany!")

The campaign is set to run for the next few months. Only time will tell if Germans really do start feeling better or just get fed up with being constantly told that they should.




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