Lead singer Judith Holofernes slammed the attempt to attract her band with a devastating critique of the newspaper and the advertising campaign.
The paper – the best-selling publication in the country – has used images of a row of celebrities and their less-than-complementary comments on posters, in return for a donation to charity.
Yet Holofernes said she saw through the strategy and found it as repulsive as the paper itself. She and her band are known for their critical stance towards consumerism and advertising.
“You just don’t get it,” she said in an open reply to the approach of advertising company Jung von Matt for the campaign.
“The current poster campaign for Bild newspaper with the so-called testimonials… from so-called celebrities… is the most perfidious thing I have seen for a long time. This is, as far as you are concerned, a successful act.
“It is rare that an advertising campaign has played so effectively with stupidity on all sides,” she said.
Celebrities who feel Bild is too populist for them, or who disagree with its style or politics, are offered the chance to reach its readers while at the same time being superficially critical of the paper, she said. They are not paid, but money is given to a cause of their choice instead, making it feel acceptable, she said.
The paper looks good, while the advertising agency knows exactly what it is doing, she said.
“The problem with this is, I probably studied with half of your staff and I know what you learn in the first semester – that the medium is the message,” she said.
“The Bild newspaper is not a piece of trash culture that can be regarded with a wink, and it is no harmless ‘guilty pleasure’ for stylish wannabes, nor a funny social or lifestyle reference.
“And the Bild newspaper is absolutely not what you want to sell it as – a loved, hated, but largely harmless fixture of a Germany that is actually much smarter.
“Bild newspaper is a dangerous political instrument – not just a strongly magnifying telescope looking into the abyss, but also a malign being, which does not describe Germany, but affects it. With an agenda.”
Her letter has been forwarded over Twitter so often that it has become one of the top themes of the site, while the band’s website was so overloaded with visits, it has all but closed down, with just the advertising agency’s letter and Holofernes’ reply on the homepage.
“We made it clear in our approach that we do not want to limit anyone in their freedom of expression,” Henner Blömer, manager of Jung von Matt, told news magazine Der Spiegel.