Rettet die Deutschen
The viral campaign “Rettet die Deutschen” (“Save the Germans”) was my thesis for the screendesign & webdesign studies at the Freie Hochschule Freiburg, which I’ve successfully completed in March 2011.
The campaign critically shows the opinion-forming headlines in the media, which are often manipulating the population and causing prejudices. The project was split in two phases.
Phase I is showing a first-person point of view of a man sitting in a restaurant reading a German newspaper which is well-known for its populistic headlines. The more of the subliminal headlines and articles about migrants coming to Germany he is reading the more he gets scared about the whole topic and the women sitting at the table next to him. She’s wearing a headscarf and therefore is most likely a terrorist… he gets overwhelmed by all the dangerous sounding headlines and eventually faints into a darkness. A logo animation is shown “Rettet die Deutschen” (“Save the Germans“) in the national colours of Germany.
I posted this video onto YouTube in order to provoke angry comments from both ends of the political spectrum. People getting upset about the apparent right-wing message the video seems to send. And on the other hand side people agreeing on those statements they know too well from the media. All of this without them knowing that this is only half of the truth…
After a couple of weeks I got indeed responses like I assumed. It was time to start the second phase.
Phase II starts with the video being black, followed by the blinking of eyes, again shown from a first-person point of view. The protagonist realizes he must be in heaven when a god-like voice starts to enlighten him with the fact, that he got tricked and biased by all the negative and populistic headlines in the media. The story unfolds and we get more and more information and explanations on what’s really happening out there. After being disproved of all the manipulative headlines we slowly gain consciousness again and realizing that we’re still sitting in the restaurant, next to that woman… but now being enlightened we dare to take another closer look at her as she turns her head and starts to smile at us friendly.
Again the logo ending appears. But this time the full slogan is shown: “Rettet die Deutschen: Vor den Vorurteilen” (“Save the Germans: Of the prejudices“)
With this work I wanted to “catch” people with the same populistic headlines they’re reading every day in order to make them feel being in a safe harbour with their right-wing opinion – but then turning this opinion into the opposite, by showing clear and easy understandable facts and statistics.
I hope to make people actively think more about what they read and see in the media and question it instead of just consuming it without further ado.
This topic was relevant in 2011. And it is sadly becoming more relevant nowadays than ever before: Fake News. Prejudices. Denunciations.