GERMANY-A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES; STARTING OVER WITH LITTLE, A DIVIDED LAND WORKS TOWARD A STRONG ECONOMY

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Wartime managers at Coca-Cola Co.'s Essen, Germany, headquarters got creative when they couldn't import the Coke concentrate any longer. Out of whey and orange juice, they invented a soft drink in 1940 and called it Fanta, the German word for fantasy.

After the war, Fanta gradually became a global brand, now sold in 170 countries.

Eventually Germany also prospered greatly, but most Germans endured three more postwar years of grinding poverty and near starvation before currency reform in 1948 stabilized the devastated economy. Between the nationalization of private businesses in Russian-dominated eastern Germany and the Allies' confiscation of international trademarks like Beiersdorf's Nivea to help pay war debts, many Germans started again from nothing.

Like twins pulled apart in childhood, East and West Germany re-built as two separate societies, with different brands and media and distinct lifestyles. The division that began in 1945 was reinforced when the Berlin Wall went up in 1961.

Newspapers and magazines from the West were banned, but East German officials couldn't stop people from watching West German TV programs and commercials. Like children with their faces pressed against a store window, East Germans could look but not touch.

"We knew the products' names but we had never felt or smelled or tasted them," said one East German.

In those first years of hardship after the war, West Germans were first exposed to some international brands by U.S. troops. Lucky Strike, Chesterfield and Pall Mall cigarettes were the black market's hard currency.

After years of consumers not being able to get basic items like soap, Henkel announced its postwar return to the detergent market with a 1950 print ad bearing the copy "A big moment. Finally again. Persil with real soap."

"In those days people lived from hand to mouth," said Hans-Dieter Maier, manager of the Bavarian Advertising Academy in Munich and a former Procter & Gamble Co. executive.

Over in the Russian Zone, later known as East Germany, all large and medium-size industrial companies were confiscated and became state property in 1945. Most owners fled to West Germany, often starting over with established brand names.

When the family-owned Wella haircare business was seized, the Stroher family moved to Darm-stadt and built today's $2 billion global haircare marketer.

Continuing a policy started after World War I, Beiersdorf's Nivea trademark went to help pay Germany's WWII debt. Beiersdorf had to buy back the Nivea brand name in each country and is still negotiating to do so in Poland, said a Beiersdorf spokesman.

In media, young journalist Rudolf Augstein in 1948 launched Der Spiegel, still Germany's leading newsmagazine. The first issue had four pages of ads, packed with messages from 22 advertisers, including Beiersdorf.

When Gruner & Jahr the following year introduced Der Stern, now Germany's top general-interest weekly, the first issue managed only two ad pages.

When the Association of German Advertisers, Agencies & Media reported German ad spending figures for the first time in 1952, the total came to just $500,000. Today, ad spending is about $18 billion a year in Europe's biggest consumer market.

Like other German marketers, Volkswagen was slowed down by the war. The VW Beetle was ready in 1938 but only went into production in 1945 in a half-demolished plant. By 1950, 100,000 Beetles had come off the assembly line.

While VW was selling its first car for the mass market, the East Germans had their Trabants, Eastern Europe's best-known brand. The Trabbi, as it was affectionately known, was slow and shoddily made, with eight- to-10-year waiting lists.

The Trabbi was an early casualty of reunification, priced out of the market in 1991 after the East German currency was replaced by the West German deutsche mark.

East German cigarette brand f6 was more successful, now with a 4% market share. Acquired by Philip Morris Cos., f6 is backed by ads from Michael Conrad & Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, and the slogan "f6, the original from Dresden."

"Many east German companies still lack marketing experience and expertise," said Peter Skroch, owner of Peter Skroch Agency, Dresden. "East Germans buy more east German-produced goods because of solidarity and are a bit more price conscious, though this is fading. There is hardly any difference between a west and an east German consumer today."

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