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Berliners get Coke to return their sunshine

Published: 07 Feb 2013 16:44 GMT+01:00

The huge mesh poster advertising Diet Coke with the tagline 2we aren't sorry" was hung on the side of the building on February 1st, Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel reported on Wednesday.

It kept those living there awake at night as it was lit up - but blocked out so much light during the day that they had to put lights on if they wanted to do anything.

For 31-year-old Fernando Rossi, who lives in the building, this was unacceptable. He took to Facebook and the petition website Change.org to drum up a little support for those trapped behind the fizzy facade.

Rossi set up the “We are living in our own private Coke advert” Facebook group on Sunday night and by Wednesday it had 250 likes, despite it being written entirely in English. On Change.org, more than 2,600 people had signed the petition.

“I also want to clarify that I don't blame Coca-Cola for this,” said Rossi on the Facebook page. “I'm appealing to them because I believe they are a serious, global brand with a reputation and probably have no idea a landlord would be doing something like this without consulting the tenants' will,” he added.

Coca-Cola soon got in touch and said that they would remove the mesh poster from the scaffolding, which covers the whole building while it is being renovated.

Because the road was too busy to take the mesh sheet down in the daytime, Coca-Cola initially added a poster which changed the sign to read “We're sorry”.

An apology from the company hangs in the lobby, reading “the front of your house is, without restrictions, for rental by companies wanting to advertise. Your landlord stressed that you had all been informed about this.”

But Rossi was, he told the Tagesspiegel never informed about the poster, which was supposed to stay until the end of February.

In the email Rossi sent out to those who signed the petition, he thanked everyone for their support and said he hoped the action showed "what every single person can do when they just have the courage."

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:28 February 7, 2013 by nandorocker
Thanks for the article! I'm the guy who started the campaign.

I have a question... where did you get that last quote from? I don't recall saying/writing anything of the sort.

Although I am proud to speak up, that sounds a tad arrogant and not my type of thing. I'd like to thank those 3559 people who put their names on the list, and say THEY were courageous and helpful to strangers. I'd also like to thank Change.org for their awesome work.

Either way, thanks again for the feature. I love your site because until I get better at German, it's the only way I get news here :)
18:53 February 7, 2013 by lucksi
¦quot;the front of your house is, without restrictions, for rental by companies wanting to advertise. Your landlord stressed that you had all been informed about this.¦quot;

Informing people is not the same as asking them if it's ok to blot out the sunlight.
05:01 February 8, 2013 by wood artist
That's the nice part about freedom of speech. The landlord is free to say whatever he/she wishes...and apparently that includes selling the ad space. Of course, he/she is also free to enjoy the results of said speech, and in this case I think he's learned a new lesson about where his rights intersect with the rights and feelings of others.

wa
09:27 February 8, 2013 by The Local Germany
Dear Nando, we got an email from Change.org thanking everyone for their support of the campaign, which included the following and was signed by you! "Es hat mir und hoffentlich auf Ihnen vor Augen geführt, was jeder Einzelne erreichen kann, wenn er sich nur traut."

The Local Team
09:29 February 8, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
Obviously the landlord cares little or nothing about the welbeing of his/her tenants. To block out the sunlight in such a fashion is also an infringement on human rights in my opinion. Also a bad marketing move for Coca Cola to do such a thing. I hope you all switch to PEPSI.
11:45 February 8, 2013 by jg.
In the UK, advertising hoardings like this require planning permission and it is during this process that tenants and neighbours would be able to present their objections. Is this not also the case in Germany?
13:04 February 8, 2013 by ichbines
I wonder if the landlord shared any of the profits from this ad with his tenants.
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