Seibert defends controversial government advertising

Three videos that reinterpret lazing around in Corona times as a heroic deed caused severe criticism at the weekend. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert is now defending the videos. The spots were produced by Joko und Klaas’ agency.

Two “special heroes” tell of the Corona winter in the federal government's campaign.

JAdolescent and young adults are often criticized in the Corona crisis. They would restrict their social contacts too little and organize corona parties, were allegations.

The federal government has now caused violent reactions on social networks with ironic commercials urging young people to stay at home and do nothing. Critics complained that the government does not take seriously all those who have to go to their doorsteps even in the pandemic, for example to work. Many could not financially afford to do nothing. Proponents said the commercials hit the right tone for the target group, and praise came from abroad for the German humor. The discussions rocked so high that government spokesman Steffen Seibert took a position at the federal press conference on Monday.

In the spots that are set a few decades in the future, older people tell about the Corona winter 2020 in the style of a historical documentary. As young adults, they have become heroes because instead of celebrating and getting to know people – dramatic music creates tension – , didn’t do anything because they didn’t go out for days and eat pizza, watch TV and play on the computer.

The response is tremendous: By Monday afternoon, the three spots on Seibert’s Twitter account alone had been viewed almost 2 million times, on YouTube there were 700,000 views, and the associated hashtag # special heroes was one of the most frequently used on Twitter at the weekend in Germany .

“These are not videos as serious instructions for life,” said Seibert, defending the spots. It is an exaggeration with a wink. He apologized to anyone who was uncomfortable with the videos, but also argued that it was difficult to reach young people with government communications. But that was successful with the spots, said Seibert in view of the number of hits. In its information offer, the government addresses the hardships that would result from the pandemic elsewhere.

Florida Reklame is responsible for the campaign. The agency is a subsidiary of Florida Entertainment, the production company of presenters Joko Winterscheidt and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf. It is a “multi-part series of TV and online spots that was designed and produced by Florida Reklame for the Federal Government’s Press and Information Office,” said a statement from Florida. The agency was commissioned through the Hirschen Group, which, as a framework contract partner of the government, takes care of their advertising activities. Hirschen did not want to comment on request. Seibert said he could not make a final statement about the cost of the videos.