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Consumers in west still ignore eastern German brands

The Local · 21 Sep 2010, 15:58

Published: 21 Sep 2010 15:58 GMT+02:00

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With the notable exceptions of Rotkäppchen sparkling wine and Spee laundry detergent, eastern German brand names barely come to mind for consumers in the west of the country, according to a poll conducted by the Institute for Applied Marketing and Communications Research (IMK).

''With Rotkäppchen and Spee, just two eastern products have managed to get into the minds of western Germans," said Sören Schiller, the head of the IMK.

Eastern German products need to fight harder to improve their image across the country, Schiller said.

“Apart from price, western Germans have few reasons to buy an eastern product,” he added.

IMK joined forces with broadcaster Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk Werbung to conduct the first ever survey of east-west brand attitudes, polling 1,500 consumers about their purchasing habits and criteria.

When brands originating in the former eastern states were mentioned to people living in the former western states, just six achieved the target recognition response of more than 50 percent. Those were Rotkäppchen, the spirit Nordhäuser Doppelkorn and four beer labels.

And just two brands, Rotkäppchen and Spee, can be recalled spontaneously by more than 50 percent of westerners – without their having to be prompted.

“In the east itself, by comparison, almost all the eastern brands asked about are known and trusted,” Schiller said. “The east is patriotic in its consumerism.”

Story continues below…

Every third person from east Germany assesses labels from their region as being as attractive as those from the west, the study found, with these products scoring well mainly because of their reliability and trustworthiness.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:53 September 21, 2010 by reprap
To be honest with you, I didn't know there was still people living in the former east Germany.
10:32 September 22, 2010 by majura
I don't think it exposes a divide, more so a lack of effective marketing from the brands that were founded in the DDR!

It shouldn't be so much as east vs. west + sensationalist journalism. Perhaps a more pragmatic and logical approach would suffice?

There's plenty of other reasons why people would not recognise nor use unfamiliar brands. There's a reason why people say "do you want a Kleenex?" from some countries, whereas in Germany Kleenex does not dominate the market. Or a Band-Aid (Johnson & Johnson) as opposed to some countries saying 'plaster'. The list goes on. Brand loyalty exists. So why when presented with the same product from 'brand x' when you've been using 'brand y' for 10 years- should you change?

Therein lies the potential power of marketing. Therein lies (most logically) the reason why brands from the DDR aren't popular of even known in former West-BDR.

I haven't been living here (Berlin) long, but all the advertising for DDR-era brands are pretty much aimed only at 'Ossis'... like Spreequell's Club Cola with their motto 'nur fuer uns' or as can be seen in many a piece of supermarket junk mail: oestlich koestlich (or something along those lines). Seems like particular brands are simply choosing (or are financially unable) to compete with West German brands (possibly because many of those brands are International - hello Coca Cola).
11:00 September 22, 2010 by pepsionice
In my local area around Kaiserslautern....if I walked into a grocery....there's five or six national brands of beer, and the five local brands around Kaiserslautern. I think this is more of a grocery vision of what to offer, and not owing to a east-west divide. If the grocery empires had more understanding of the beer business and what was out there....you might see more East German beer.
11:41 September 22, 2010 by moistvelvet
East German brands? Err isn't it now just one Germany? Why are people so hung up on the East/West divide and seem to pick anything at random to support it. I'm just as likely to buy a beer brewed in "East Germany" as I am to buy one from Stuttgart, Hamburg or Koeln.
11:52 September 22, 2010 by jcbayley
Agreed, moistvelvet

Anyway, if you're a watch fan, you could never ignore the "Glashütte Original" brand... it's among the very finest watch manufacturers in the world. Also, are native Germans really so mindful of what an East German brand is?
13:50 September 22, 2010 by moistvelvet
For a country that doesn't care about customer service I doubt they rarely care where their products come from, I geuss they'll take whatever Aldi throw at them.
14:55 October 4, 2010 by D R Jones
I lived in Germany before the fall of the DDR. Now I think of East Germany as "Eastern" Germany. We have the same attitude here in the U.S. The western U.S, midwest, eastern U.S., southern. It's a common identification in a large country like the U.S. or Germany. I agree with majura, it's a matter of each product deciding to become a national brand verus a regional brand. If the company isn't willing to pay for advertizing to build the brand name of it's product, the company will never expand. Marketing makes or breaks a product. It has nothing to do with old governments or old images, it's market economies.
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