Arts & Culture

Nazi Advertising: When Slogans Go Bad

There’s no doubt that many ad campaigns are questionable, especially in terms of taste level—think about the use of Johnny Cash’s classic track "Ring of Fire" for a hemroid medication. But this week German coffee company Tchibo and gas station … Read More

By / January 15, 2009

There’s no doubt that many ad campaigns are questionable, especially in terms of taste level—think about the use of Johnny Cash’s classic track "Ring of Fire" for a hemroid medication. But this week German coffee company Tchibo and gas station chain Esso became a shining example of when slogans go bad. The two companies, who had a joint advertising campaign, used the slogan " Jedem den Seinen," which has the dual translation of either "to each his own" or "to each what he deserves." This seemingly innocuous motto—which could conceivably apply to customizing coffee drinks or a consumer version of Bobby Brown’s "My Prerogative"—has caused heated controversy because it is almost identical to a slogan which hung on the gate of the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp. Talk about, uh, catchy advertising. Both Tchibo and Esso claim they were not familiar with the dark historical connotations, and the ads have been since taken down.