• Germany edition
 
Nostalgia stokes demand for East German brands
Photo: DPA

Nostalgia stokes demand for East German brands

Published: 27 Feb 2013 07:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Feb 2013 07:04 GMT+01:00

Products "Made in GDR" may be consigned to history, but many East German items are still flying off shelves, as the nostalgia for brands from the failed communist country remains strong.

Nearly 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, certain aspects of East Germany lives on for many former citizens, in the form of egg-cups, cleaning products and jars of Spreewald gherkins.

The Ostprodukte Versand dispatch centre in Tangermüde, Saxony-Anhalt, stocks German Democratic Republic (GDR) products not just to look at, but also to actively consume or use.

Bright blue and red scarves of the East German Pioneers youth movement wait in cardboard boxes along with ATA scrubbing powder, hen shaped egg-cups and Mekorna baby food, to be shipped off to customers pining for everyday GDR goods.

Owner Torsten Klipp also runs a GDR department store in Tangermüde's historic old city. "The customers also need to be able to see, smell and touch [the products]," he said.

The East German Sandman, a favourite from the children's TV sits in the store display window with his friends. Half of a bright yellow Trabant car has long been a feature of the brick façade.

Every day in the shop, customers can be heard saying "we used to have this," a phenomenon known as "eastern nostalgia," or Ostalgie in German.

"People unconsciously associate something with the products," said Marko Sarstedt, a marketing expert at the Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg.

Finding GDR products attractive is an automatic response rooted in childhood experiences, he said. "The most important influences are completed by the age of seven," he added. The brands that stood on supermarket shelves back then are seen as somehow trustworthy.

"Anyone who buys these products is also rebelling a little against the rest of the brands on the supermarket shelves, to which a bland flavour of homogeneity clings," said Sarstedt.

Majority of GDR goods were discontinued not long after the fall of the Berlin wall, outstripped by a new flood of hip and colourful bands of the West. Yet a few of years after German reunification, customers began to hanker after the old products of the East.

"I always wanted to offer as wide a range of products as possible," says Klipp. The online shop now offers 1,000 products and has 100,000 buyers in the customer database, with every tenth order placed outside the country.

As for the rest of the clientele, orders from the former East and former West Germany tend to balance each other out, said Klipp. He often ships entire product lines to major supermarket chains or other distributors.

Klipp does not rely solely on fast-selling products like Nudossi spread, Halloren-chocolates and Spreewald-gherkins.

He has redeveloped private brands and had them protected under EU product laws. "It's all about developing a trend further and being attractive to younger people," he said.

That is why, for example, Klipp has updated the famous blue, yellow and white hen-shaped egg-cups for modern times, now exclusively offering them in the black, red and gold of the German flag. And it all seems to be paying off.

Klipp said business had been up every year since he opened in a room in his flat in 2003. Last year, revenues were up 11 percent to a total of €1.2 million and he employed 12 people.

He now lives in a former brewery, which also houses his office and warehouse, complete with a bust of Lenin in the hallway to greet visitors as they enter.

DPA/The Local/mb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

10:19 February 27, 2013 by johncoates
I miss two beer styles that died after the wall, Berliner Weiss and the Baltic Porter. The free market killed them :( But they are making a comeback.
11:12 March 2, 2013 by Roberto Gold
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
Today's headlines
Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes
Leonardo had to have a finger and toe amputated after staff refused to call an ambulance. Photo: DPA

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes

A political row has broken out in Bavaria after an asylum seekers' home failed to help a toddler who almost died of meningitis. The case has raised concerns about the treatment of refugees in the state. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

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

3,146
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd