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Heil Hatler
April 16, 2008 10:50 AM   Subscribe

It's the hat. The German ad agency serviceplan uses the iconic image of Der Führer to create an ad for selling hats. Thomas Weber of the Bonn hat retailer, Hut-weber, was "a bit reluctant at first, but won over fast by the rather cunning idea and the craftiness carrying the simple, straightforward message that 'hats make people'."
posted by three blind mice (61 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hats off, serviceplan!
posted by mazola at 10:55 AM on April 16, 2008


The German ad agency serviceplan uses the iconic image of Der Führer to create an ad for selling hatsbuzz about how edgy they are.
posted by DU at 10:56 AM on April 16, 2008


I like this quote by an 80 year old Bonn resident: "a stunning nude with a cocky hat might well boost his sales"

um yeah...
posted by inthe80s at 10:58 AM on April 16, 2008


Ill-advised, of course, but clever. For bonus points, picture the Little Tramp leading a Nazi rally.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:00 AM on April 16, 2008


Incredibly clever visual nugget. Probably ill-advised ad campaign...
posted by mr_roboto at 11:03 AM on April 16, 2008


It's the hat. It's the wanton and senseless killing of at least 6 million Jews and others.

FTFY
posted by googly at 11:04 AM on April 16, 2008


Mein Trampf
posted by Poolio at 11:08 AM on April 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


I like this quote by an 80 year old Bonn resident: "a stunning nude with a cocky hat might well boost his sales"

I not only want to know that 80-year-old, I want to BE that 80-year-old. When I'm 80, that is.
posted by orange swan at 11:13 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Easily tops their St. John the Baptist themed "Want to get ahead? Get a hat!" campaign.
posted by mazola at 11:14 AM on April 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Finally their long national nightmare has come to an end.
posted by shmegegge at 11:17 AM on April 16, 2008


You know, a while back it seemed like I was constantly running across people on messageboards, mostly Americans of a certain type, who would complain loudly that Stalin and his genocides were fair game for cutesy humour while Hitler wasn't. I guess now, with things like this and the remixed downfall vidoes becoming more or less mainstream they've got what they wanted.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on April 16, 2008


I'm surprised this post makes no mention of the fact that the ad is visually as much about Charlie Chaplin, who of course famously spoofed Hitler in his film "The Great Dictator," as it is about Hitler himself. Without Chaplin and his iconic bowler the ad would certainly be problematic, but since it's Chaplin and not Hitler wearing the hat, the ad could actually be interpreted as arguing for hats as a sign of individuality (especially now, when they are not commonly worn) against fascist conformity.
posted by ornate insect at 11:19 AM on April 16, 2008


Whatever it is, it's not the hat.
posted by caddis at 11:20 AM on April 16, 2008


You know, a while back it seemed like I was constantly running across people on messageboards, mostly Americans of a certain type, who would complain loudly that Stalin and his genocides were fair game for cutesy humour while Hitler wasn't.

I'm having tremendous difficulty imagining both these people and the scenarios where saying this seems apropos. Were there a lot of cutesy Staling jokes being made somewhere at some point? It's sort of frazzling my brain to try to think of a situation where people are constantly making cute jokes about Stalin and then someone constantly comes along and goes "wtf, but I still can't make a cute lolhitler?"
posted by shmegegge at 11:21 AM on April 16, 2008


"But this is not really about Hitler. This is more about Charlie Chaplin and the hat."

Wasn't that Max Mosley's excuse too?
posted by Kattullus at 11:22 AM on April 16, 2008


I'm surprised this post makes no mention of the fact that the ad is visually as much about Charlie Chaplin, who of course famously spoofed Hitler in his film "The Great Dictator," as it is about Hitler himself.

spoiler alert, dude. spoiler alert.
posted by shmegegge at 11:22 AM on April 16, 2008


Seems healthy to me. Germany is still crippled by that thing that happened years ago. They can't even depict the symbol of National Socialism today anywhere- even in a game about WWII. Acknowledging it in a gentle, funny way seems like a good way to heal.

An American ad agency would never be so subtle, so cerebral. They would have done something like:

Gassed Millions_________________Entertained Millions

it's the hat.
posted by Miles Long at 11:23 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's sad that it's advertising pushing these boundaries, but I've always found this censorship a little creepy.

Related Ask Metafilter
, and censorship attempts on Wikipedia linked therein.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:24 AM on April 16, 2008


spoiler alert? b/c there's nothing like having the 5 seconds it takes to click the first link "wrecked" by that extra and key context the post omits. It's an ad, not a movie, man.

Now, a cocky nude in a stunning hat, that would be a spoiler.
posted by ornate insect at 11:27 AM on April 16, 2008


I'm having tremendous difficulty imagining both these people and the scenarios where saying this seems apropos. Were there a lot of cutesy Staling jokes being made somewhere at some point?

Not so much cute jokes; these complaints are rather usually voiced against the use of Soviet-style art in advertising and graphic design.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:34 AM on April 16, 2008


On messageboards it mostly existed as a subvariant of the “OMG, you mentioned Hitler without explaining Stalin was the most evil man ever” line of argument.

(If you’ve never seen one of these consider yourself lucky)

Hitler still gets mentioned from time to time without pointing out that Stalin was the most evil man ever, but at leats on the comedy/cutesy advertising front parity has been achieved. I’m hoping that, at least, makes them a little happier.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on April 16, 2008


I think this is impossibly brilliant. It works on at least three levels, possibly by accident. You have the simplicity of the imagery, the fact that both images are instantly recognizable with such minimalism. And you have the major difference in our perception of the two. I think that says more about the viewer than it does about the imagery. They're using this to sell hats.... but there's also a much deeper message about how easily we categorize and sort people.

I don't remember, offhand, ever seeing advertising that sent two diametrically opposed messages so perfectly; they're directly saying, "If you buy this hat, you'll look cool." Possibly without realizing it, they're also saying, "You're silly to think the Chaplin image is better because he has a hat on."

Just... wow. The sheer power of such a simple design amazes me. It says so much with so very little.
posted by Malor at 11:44 AM on April 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh, and I just spotted the post title. Heh, cute.
posted by Malor at 11:45 AM on April 16, 2008


Related Ask Metafilter, and censorship attempts on Wikipedia linked therein.

Thanks, TheOnlyCoolTim, for adding those links to the thread. I would have woven them into the post (if I knew they existed!)
posted by three blind mice at 11:47 AM on April 16, 2008


I've been trying desperately to find a picture of a bare-headed Benny Hill, naked except for his, ahem, cocky-hat, but got too close to the seedy underbelly of the internet for my own personal comfort.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:48 AM on April 16, 2008


[free association on]

"Hats don't make people. People make hats who make people."--the NHA

"Serviceplan is planning a Eva Bruan-themed ad for a merkin"

"This ad caps off a controversy 'hats bound to anger, and follows their 'bald men get less head' ad for toupees."

"You know who else had a serviceplan for making people into hats?"

"My dog has no hat. How does he look? Just terrible."

"Heidegger's Hut to be sold by Ikea."

"You know who else wears a funny hat?"
posted by ornate insect at 11:49 AM on April 16, 2008


Benny Hill is worse than hitler.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on April 16, 2008


A man should have a hat, in his opinion. Beyond a certain age it will suit him and give him weight, become a welcome addition to his face, almost a trademark. People will look at his hat as it hangs on the back of a chair, or a coat hook, or rests on the edge of his desk, and they will involuntarily assume - Frank's here, then. That's his hat. Frank's old, familiar hat. Through time, there will be a small transfer of emotion and people who are fond of him will also like his hat, will see something in it: a sense of his atmosphere, his style - and they'll be pleased.
- A. L. Kennedy, "Frank"

(from The Book of Other People, ed. Zadie Smith)

I really like hats.
posted by WalterMitty at 11:57 AM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


They can't even depict the symbol of National Socialism today anywhere- even in a game about WWII.

That's not true. It can be depicted "to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes".
posted by snownoid at 11:58 AM on April 16, 2008


snownoid--might that include a satirical portrait of Bush done up like Hitler, or would that cause too much "fuhrer"? Just curious.
posted by ornate insect at 12:01 PM on April 16, 2008


Too soon.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:04 PM on April 16, 2008


You know who also wore a hat?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:16 PM on April 16, 2008


Ill-advised, of course, but clever. For bonus points, picture the Little Tramp leading a Nazi rally.

So you've never seen "The Great Dictator"?
posted by Mike D at 12:17 PM on April 16, 2008


might that include a satirical portrait of Bush done up like Hitler, or would that cause too much "fuhrer"?

I guess it would be legal but potentially controversial.
posted by snownoid at 12:21 PM on April 16, 2008


Well, at least they're not selling lampshades.




...what?
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:30 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Interestingly, if you cover the mustache bit, both images look like Liza Minnelli (circa Cabaret).
posted by SPrintF at 12:34 PM on April 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ill-advised, of course, but clever. For bonus points, picture the Little Tramp leading a Nazi rally.

It's easier than you'd think, actually.
posted by EarBucket at 12:42 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm the only one who did not see Charlie Chaplin, but rather Hitler wearing a hat (prior to reading the article). Then I felt like a dumbass. Thanks a lot, Hitler.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 12:42 PM on April 16, 2008


That is an amazing ad.
posted by 235w103 at 12:43 PM on April 16, 2008


I don't see what the fuss is about, other than the fact this ad was done in Germany. The ad is well-done and clever. It's not glorifying Hitler or advocating Nazism. Using Hitler's image in this context is no different than, say, the South Park episode where Cartman dresses up as Hitler for Halloween, or the Simpsons episode where Grampa Simpson almost shoots Hitler with a sniper rifle, only to be knocked off his aim by Burns' tennis ball. There's something healthy about playing an evil dictator for comedy, it shows we no longer fear him. Hell, Chaplin himself played Hitler for comedy while Hitler was still alive.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:58 PM on April 16, 2008


I guess I'm the only one who did not see Charlie Chaplin, but rather Hitler wearing a hat (prior to reading the article).

But it IS Hitler wearing a hat, isn't it?
I mean, isn't that the underlying message here? "Wearing the right hat will turn even the meanest evilest dictator evarr into a beloved comedian."
posted by sour cream at 1:03 PM on April 16, 2008


I think it's a fantastic ad.

Hell, I want a derby now, and not just so people stop confusing me with Hitler.
posted by quin at 1:15 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't see what's so clever about the observation that Chaplin's persona resembled Hitler. That resemblance was not an accident to be "discovered" decades later. It was intentional at the time and obvious in the extreme.
posted by jfrancis at 1:20 PM on April 16, 2008


You know who else didn't wear hats?
posted by Nelson at 1:40 PM on April 16, 2008


these guys?
posted by shmegegge at 1:45 PM on April 16, 2008


jfrancis, that is an amazingly ignorant comment. Charlie Chaplin was born in 1889. Even the most superficial of research (ie, wikipedia) would show you images that match this ad from 1921.

Chaplin is not modeled on Hitler; Hitler didn't model himself on Chaplin. Chaplin took advantage of the coincidence himself, but that doesn't mean the two personas looked alike on purpose.

Looking into the facts just even a tiny bit before fantasizing in an authoritative voice is a very, very good idea. I spent approximately one minute looking for an image of Chaplin that predated Hitler. You can see it for yourself on the Wikipedia page, about halfway down, right side.

Intentional at the time, my ass. Look things up before you pontificate.
posted by Malor at 3:33 PM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Its always just a question of time before an event is sufficiently "in the past" that it can be used in this way.

I think its a great ad. It's a shame hats don't suit me.
posted by BritishGas at 3:35 PM on April 16, 2008


Hell, I missed the first Tramp image, from 1914.
posted by Malor at 3:38 PM on April 16, 2008


Too clever by half.

And way too soon. Germans shouldn't be pretending the only difference between Hitler and Charlie Chaplin was a hat. Certainly not while the Nazi's victims still live, and SS veterans are still getting their government pensions.
posted by orthogonality at 6:36 PM on April 16, 2008


So Chaplin was a nazi?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:11 PM on April 16, 2008


Hell, I missed the first Tramp image, from 1914.

For comparison, Hitler circa 1914, as a private in the German army (far left, under the white X mark). The mustache is all wrong, and it's doubtful that a Vaudeville-cum-Hollywood actor would even know of this obscure German soldier, let alone seek to portray him.

The Chaplin Wikipedia page also quotes Chaplin himself on the origin of the small mustache. It was "to add age without hiding my expression." Not to imitate a German politician who would not even rise to global prominence for another twenty years.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:21 PM on April 16, 2008


Man, those are some choice mustaches on Hitler and the guy in the back row, second from the right in that 1914 photo. The Snidely Whiplash handlebar mustache needs to make a comeback. How do you even grow a mustache like that? Was some no-longer-produced product made out of a byproduct from some extinct animal required to shape it? Eustace K. Higginbotham's Miracle Mustachio Cream And Sealing Wax or something like that?
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:17 PM on April 16, 2008


Er, maybe the problem with this is that using Hitler's image this way diminishes the reality of the holocaust. . .particularly for younger generations born after the war, and those whose parents were born after the war, etc. Hitler should not be flattened into a cartoon character. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. . .

I'll bet you fifty bucks no one involved in this ad campaign had any relatives in concentration camps. "Edgy" marketing often involves this kind of disconnect. For example, there's a newish club in NYC called "Rehab". LOLHEROIN!. . .you can be sure the club owners never had any friends die of an overdose.
posted by flotson at 9:30 PM on April 16, 2008


I dunno, I'd bet you fifty dollars that club owners and advertisers are more likely to know someone who died of an overdose than most of us.
posted by Artw at 11:16 PM on April 16, 2008


Er, maybe the problem with this is that using Hitler's image this way diminishes the reality of the holocaust. . .particularly for younger generations born after the war, and those whose parents were born after the war, etc. Hitler should not be flattened into a cartoon character. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. . .

Aside from the the problems I have with this mindset (exactly how many of the hundreds of historical, before my birth, genocides am I supposed to never forget again?) - the ad only works because of the negative view of Hitler. If Hitler can't even be mentioned without an asterisk explicitly pointing out "and by the way, Holocaust!" - well, you know who else used that kind of constant meme-reinforcing propaganda?*

*and by the way, Holocaust!
posted by Sparx at 3:05 AM on April 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I'd bet you fifty dollars that club owners and advertisers are more likely to know someone who died of an overdose than most of us.

If so, how would you explain the appropriation of their own grief into an emotionally distant ironic hipster posture? My main point is that this sort of thing is heartless. . .

exactly how many of the hundreds of historical, before my birth, genocides am I supposed to never forget again?

Um, all of them? It's not clear to me what you object to here.

If Hitler can't even be mentioned without an asterisk explicitly pointing out "and by the way, Holocaust!"

And the other Hitler talking points are what, exactly?
posted by flotson at 9:33 AM on April 17, 2008


If so, how would you explain the appropriation of their own grief into an emotionally distant ironic hipster posture? My main point is that this sort of thing is heartless. . .

Hmm… strong overlap of peer-group with drug takers, drug dealers and, erm, gangsters (themselves not known for spending their days waving their hands in the air about what is "appropriate")
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on April 17, 2008


If so, how would you explain the appropriation of their own grief into an emotionally distant ironic hipster posture? My main point is that this sort of thing is heartless. . .

Hmm… strong overlap of peer-group with drug takers, drug dealers and, erm, gangsters (themselves not known for spending their days waving their hands in the air about what is "appropriate")


You're missing my point. Which is that I don't think that an individual who had lost a close friend to drug addiction would be heartless enough to name a club "Rehab".
posted by flotson at 3:56 PM on April 17, 2008


They would if they were a total bastard, or a coked up loon.
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on April 17, 2008


And the other Hitler talking points are what, exactly?

Autobahn.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:50 PM on April 18, 2008


Which is that I don't think that an individual who had lost a close friend to drug addiction would be heartless enough to name a club "Rehab".

Nope, right, that could never happen.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:51 PM on April 18, 2008


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