German safety

I’ve been noticing recently the number of German advertisers who use “Sicherheit” (= safety; certainty) in their marcoms (marketing communications). I wonder if this is a cultural influence, relating to what Hofstede would call “uncertainty avoidance”.

Two examples.

Certified by experts

Certified by experts

One: posters for a new indoor adventure park called Sensapolis. I’ve not been to the place (apparently it costs a small fortune to get in, and kids have to be accompanied by adults who have nothing to do but stand around), but it sounds like the sort of place kids have been waiting for to work off excess energy.

Now if I were advertising this place I’d go for the blend of educational value and entertainment (edutainment). Or perhaps the way it appeals to a child’s imagination, or even the five senses.

But no, the advertisers went for a mixture of myth and … safety. Or at least that’s what I see in these posters. I’ve been told these ads are supposed to say “Our rides are approved by pixies and fairies”. But to me it looks like it was checked out by the technical inspectorate. How predictable for the country that invented DIN norms.

And sadly the park had some major safety problems not long after opening.

They're sure sweet

They’re sure sweet

Second example: grape tomatoes. Kids love the new generation of small tomatoes. The handy format, the sweet taste. Much less messy. A small, sweet and succulent bundle of fresh vitamins in bite-size format. But how does Aldi market its tasty little tomatoes? By opening with…safety.

Or do they mean certainty, as in you can be “sure” they’re good? Is this an overlap between a sure bet (=Sicherheit) and a safe eat (=Sicherheit).

Hmm. For once, I’ll give the advertisers the benefit of the doubt, though it doesn’t ring right to me.

But if I see “Sicherheit” in advertising again, I’ll start getting worried about German advertisers! Not every safe bet is a certain winner.

Alex Woodruff

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