• Germany edition
 
Merkel in her underpants stops traffic
Photo: bruno banani advert

Merkel in her underpants stops traffic

Published: 01 May 2009 09:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 May 2009 09:52 GMT+02:00

The 100-metre-square mocked-up image of the half-naked world leader is part of a nationwide advertising campaign for an underwear company aiming to cash in on the success of a "cash-for-clunkers" scheme for old cars.

Punters trading in their old underwear will get a €5 discount on a new pair, the advert promises, under the slogan: "The country needs new undies."

The electronic advert - on a busy road junction in the heart of former West Berlin – caused a stir on the streets and made it onto the front pages of local papers, with scores of people taking snapshots of the billboard with cameras or mobile phones.

"I think it's great. Brilliant. It's a positive signal for the economic situation in Germany," said a 54-year-old who gave his name of Meier adding he would "definitely" trade in his old pants at the first opportunity.

A 37-year-old called Bebe said: "I think it's fantastic that you can look at something funny when you're waiting for the bus."

Merkel herself was tight-lipped on the subject of her image being used in this fashion. "The chancellor's office does not want to comment on the campaign," a spokesman said.

The 54-year-old chancellor has often been criticised for her image – as a female leader her hair and choice of clothes was under intense scrutiny after she was elected.

Last year, she made front-pages around the world after showing her cleavage in a low-cut dress to the opening of the Oslo Opera House.

This prompted headlines such as "Merkel's Weapons of Mass Destruction" from British tabloid the Daily Mail and "Deutschland boober alles" from media gossip website Gawker.

In 2006, another British tabloid, the Sun, published a snatched photographer of her changing into a bathing suit while on holiday in Italy under the headline "Big in the Bum-destag".

Lined up behind Merkel in the advert are other members of Germany's political elite, also in their underwear, including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who aims to unseat Merkel in upcoming elections.

"I don't really understand it. I don't know who they all are. Apart from Merkel, of course," said a 24-year-old who gave her name as Sonja.

Her comment is perhaps an early indication that it will be Steinmeier, not Merkel, caught with his pants down when Germany goes to the polls on September 27.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany has just ten Ebola beds
Photo: DPA

Germany has just ten Ebola beds

Doctors at high-level infectious disease clinics say that caring for patients with the Ebola virus is much more intensive than they first thought, meaning they can handle fewer cases at once. READ  

Refugee Crisis
Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees
A refugee protests on the roof of the former Gerhart Hauptmann School in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Now Berlin turns to tents to house refugees

Berlin has turned to huge tents and shipping containers to shelter growing numbers of refugees. With winter approaching, city politicians have called on the federal government for help. READ  

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 11
An eyewitness captured the moment of the explosion on their phone. Photo: DPA

Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 11

UPDATE: One person has died and at least 11 others are injured after a huge explosion in western Germany on Thursday. READ  

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word
Merkel suffers from Wortfindungsstörung at the IT summit in Hamburg. Photo: DPA

Clueless Merkel forgets the F-word

Angela Merkel's government is often criticized for its lack of understanding of all things digital and an appearance by the chancellor in Hamburg, which was supposed to change those perceptions, has only made things worse. READ  

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes
Photo: DPA

Greenpeace finds danger in kids clothes

Research released on Thursday by environmental group Greenpeace showed that more than half of clothing sold by German discount brands contain chemicals known to be dangerous to health and the environment, with items from Aldi being the worst offenders. READ  

Woman sues for accidental pot raid
Photo: DPA

Woman sues for accidental pot raid

A Bavarian woman is suing police for unlawful search after a reported break-in at her home led authorities to discover 158 cannabis plants in her basement. READ  

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants
Photo: DPA

Germany lags in permits for non-EU migrants

Germany gave out fewer residency permits last year per head to non-EU citizens than any other major European economy. READ  

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine
Hamburg's UKE has helped lead the fight against Ebola. Photo: DPA

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine

Volunteers have rolled up their sleeves for the first phase of the human trial for an Ebola vaccine at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE), it was announced on Wednesday evening. READ  

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend
Jacob Lew and Sigmar Gabriel. Photo: DPA

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, in a meeting on Wednesday with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, called on Germany to boost public spending to stimulate stuttering eurozone growth, the Treasury said. READ  

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window
Schönhauser Allee in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window

A father and his young son are in serious condition after police and firefighters were called to their home in northeast Berlin early on Wednesday morning. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,523
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd