Jeers for North Rhine- Westphalia’s new English slogan

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has garnered scathing criticism for a new €9-million ad campaign in awkward English, according to German tabloid daily Express on Friday.

Jeers for North Rhine- Westphalia's new English slogan
NRW Economy Minister Christa Thoben presents the new campaign. Photo: DPA

State residents are stunned that the new slogan with the clumsy English phrasing, “WE LOVE THE NEW,” could be so expensive. And while German advertising tends to favour nonsensical English phrases, some NRW residents told the paper it was inappropriate for Germany’s most populous state to represent itself with a foreign language.

“I wouldn’t hawk my state with this idiotic English crap,” said resident Marco Schnepf.

But NRW Economy Minister Christa Thoben defended the the new slogan. “It’s not just a logo, but a broad campaign to bring foreign investors to NRW,” she told the paper, adding that the the €9-million cost will be spread over three years. A similar campaign in the 1990’s was actually more expensive, Thoben said.

Head of economic research institute Instituts der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), Rolf Kroker, told the paper that the criticism was unwarranted. “I think the slogan is completely appropriate,” Kroker said. “NRW wants to raise awareness abroad and garner new investment. That works better in English than in German. English is a world language that is understood everywhere.”

But NRW resident Sigrun Staron told the paper she thinks otherwise. “A slogan has to be snappy, create a good mood, and make you curious – and don’t forget – bring pure emotion,” she said. “The slogan is not cool, even if it had cost just 10 cents.”