web analytics

When we were in Cologne recently I kept seeing the same kind of ad against discrimination on big posters in subway stations: drawers with people neatly filed in their respective categories. It says “Kein Mensch passt in eine Schublade!” which translates to “No human being fits into a drawer!” Is this kind of Schubladen Denken (thinking in drawers) only a German expression? I’m sometimes known to literally translate German expressions into English and English ones into German and only realize my mistake when the person across from me looks at me like they only understand train station… ok, I’m just kidding, I know that that particular one really only makes sense in German: Bahnhof verstehen = to understand train station = to not understand a thing 😉 Either way, the thinking in drawers one translates well in pictures in any language I think. And who isn’t guilty of once in a while placing people in convenient drawers/categories because of their ethnicity, age, gender, etc.?!

The picture below has origin as a theme with the categories consisting of Turkey, Russia, Roma, etc. By the way, “Roma” does not refer to Rome, but to the Roma people (better known by the somewhat pejorative term “gypsies”).  Another ad from the same series depicted an open drawer with the category uralt (common term for really, really old in German) and a very old-fashioned German name on a file folder, but I wasn’t quick enough to snap a pic of that. I wonder if there were other ads besides these two with the same theme.

Most times commercials and ads are just a bother at worst or a quick entertainment at best (remember the Vodafone cabs in London?), but these German ads against discrimination really kind of stuck with me. I like when ads get creative like that… And I like that they offer consultations for people who have been discriminated against (below the main sentence).

 German Ads Against Discrimination

© 2012, Country Skipper. All rights reserved.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

10 Comments

  • R. Sherman says:

    In English we have the phrase “thinking outside the box” which the reverse of the German Schubladen denken, but it’s not really used to categorize people. “Judging a book by it’s cover” is probably more apt and can be used with people.

    BTW, those word-for-word translation issues go both ways and my German in-laws have a few stories about me they could tell you.

    Cheers.
    R. Sherman recently posted..A Continuing Discussion

    • Sabrina says:

      I thought “thinking outside the box” referred more to being creative rather than categorizing people, right? But I see how it can be used for that oart of the German meaning of Schubladen Denken.

      Would love to hear those stories 🙂 Always fun! Once I told my colleage that we’ll talk later “in peace”…. what I meant was that we’ll talk later when things had calmed down. She looked at me like I had lost it 🙂

  • sue says:

    Loved this. When it is good, advertising can be amazing and thought provoking.

  • Andrew says:

    The German ad campaigns can actually be pretty good. The had an anti-aids one a few years ago that was cool. It was figures and shapes made in condoms. The one of the Gummi-Bear was hilarious. I wish I had gotten a pictures.

    Locally there was a series of talks about breast enlargement and reduction using fruit on the posters. Lemons and watermelons respectively.
    Andrew recently posted..Indie Travel Challenge – Week 2 : Indie Traveler

  • Frau Dietz says:

    *like*! I’ve not seen this at all, but it’s brilliant! Thank you for sharing 🙂
    Frau Dietz recently posted..An Ongoing Battle…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Bombax Theme designed by itx

© 2010-2017 Country Skipper All Rights Reserved