David Pescovitz at 10:53 am Fri, Jul 18, 2008
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David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.
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I am >40 and I saw it, too. What are they teaching in school these days?
And get off my lawn, ya damn kids!
“Doesn’t it take two to tango?”
Unless I’m wrong here, many people are aware of the SS logo, if nothing else thanks to WWII-based games. It’s no swastika in terms of universal aversion, but it remains almost instantly recognizable as the double lightning bolts of the SS. And yes, it’s a bad thing for advertising when you have a bad association for, at a guess, twenty percent of your audience.
Who are these Nazis ?
Did they have any impact on history ?
It can also be interpreted as a DNA/serpent/Caduceus
This was no mistake. I think it was more of a risk
Thanks for posting it !
This discussion (not the logo) has reminded me of the black-light swastika in the “Third Reich Decadent Cafe” from URUSEI YATSURA’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” No need to delve deep for those hidden meanings, ‘ey? Nope, right there on the surface, in your face. We’re all punk kids.
I, however, am 63 (born 1944) and I did NOT freely associate that symbol with the SS. It reminded me of that damn Zoom Zoom kid and the stretch of twisty little Autobahn, all alike, where the cocky little bastard keeps his turnip stand.
I’m 33 and saw it right away, before reading the headline or caption.
I don’t think it’s a generation thing. It’s an education thing.
“…it’s a bad thing for advertising when you have a bad association…”
Maybe not for the Japanese; they were on the same side in WWII.
So, are we all casting ourselves in the role of vigilant intelligent citizens taking corporate ignorati to task for their massive faux pas, or are we getting just a tad hyper-sensitive? Imagine if no one made the dubious connection between the logo, or the black and white effect, or the emaciated model. What would happen? Anything? Would a bunch of neo-Nazi youth say, “hey, you know what? that mainstream advertisement endorses my views! Let’s go out and commit genocide!” I really doubt it. The ad would be up for a few months, then it would come down, and everyone would just go on with their lives. And for folks who might attack my generational ignorance, I just want to point out that I’m a historian and have taught the WWII era to undergraduates, most of whom were well-aware if the symbol’s significance, so nyah! But seriously, if people didn’t keep saying “this is a problem!”, would it even be a problem?
Really it has nothing to do with the intent of the logo design was. Even if the creator purposely copied the SS logo thinking only, “Hey that’s kind of nice.”
It’s all about association. It’s all about what pops into mind. It’s no different than all the laughable “Goatse-like stuff we see here and all laugh at.
The musical group KISS uses the SS symbol in their logo. It is as obnoxious there as anywhere else.
If designed by Japanese, this was merely a blunder. If approved by Europeans, bad job.
For reference, see http://www.kissonline.com/
Won’t somebody please think of the children?!
I just donâ€™t see them as being one and the same logo.
Even the Nazi swastika flipped over means good luck and fortune in other countries (Hitler wasnâ€™t exactly original). I say, let the design alone and stop associating it with bigots from back in the Stone Age.
Maybe it is because I am 20, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed if the headline didn’t say “problematic logo design.” I read the headline, looked at the picture and said: “Hey, those esses kind of look like the SS symbol, except that they don’t look like lightning bolts, and they aren’t positioned right.”
Adidas Macht Frei
Tun Sie Es Einfach.
If you needed to think about it before you knew what was wrong with the “SS” symbol then honestly your history education was a bit sketchy. I’m not one to ban any symbols, but if this company decides to go ahead with this ad campaign they should also be ready for the media sh!t storm and and subsequent drop in sales to follow. Its never a good idea to associate your company with the symbols of power from previous dictators…
It took me a minute to figure out what the problem was, and I still don’t think the logo looks *that* much like the SS symbol. The Schutzstaffel SS does not have the two esses contours following each other like this one, and doesn’t have any rounding. I can see how it could be a problem though.
I think it comes down to the fact that when you have two esses, they will look like two esses.
I don’t find it hard to believe the double S is not some sort of memory hotkey, even when presented in such a similar way. In some ways I envy those who will never make the connection.
It looks nothing like a Schutzstaffel SS symbol. It’s a bit of a stretch people.
This is the visual version of calling someone a racist because they used the term “black hole”.
>>Tun Sie Es Einfach.
Oops, wrong shoe company slogan. Sorry.
In Asia, Nazism doesn’t inspire horror quite as much as in the West. A while ago, there was a Nazi-themed bar in Taipei (I think), which had a huge black and white photo of Auschwitz inmates along one wall.
I suppose that that’s quite similar to a Westerner deciding to name/theme their trendy bar after Mao or Stalin or someone.
What does it say about me that I thought what was naughty about it was that the S’s looked like two people copulating (one on the lap of another)?
I wish I could claim the explanation proposed in #25.
I thought it was well known and accepted that Japanese, Korean and Chinese ad companies use Nazi iconography to link their product with the idea of German precision, and reliability. Sad but true.
As others have stated; the SS logo plus, black and white image, emaciated person with a hunched over posture all are subtle cues to link the product with Nazis.
Feh, it won’t fly in the global culture and you won’t see it advertised outside of some Asian countries.
@ #21. win!
#29 Stone Age?
We’re talking about 60 years ago or so. That’s not that long ago.
And humans haven’t progressed a whole heck of a lot since.
If only the reactions to actual acts of atrocities, torture, war and genocide were in any way comparable to the reaction to an SS logo that has something to do with stuff we can’t change in any way whatsoever. WWII doesn’t matter any more. It is written in the history books, and is thus no more or less important than the battles in ancient China, Rome, or Europe. It is long gone, it is over 60 years ago and none of victims (by no means a majority of them jews) will be brought back to life no matter how many people you imprison for using symbols of the era.
Wht CN mk chng thgh, s (‘m srry f nyn shld b ffndd by wht fllws) t fnlly TLL SRL THT THY R TRTNG HLF THR PPLTN TH WY JWS HV BN TRTD BY TH NZS. t s ccptd by th ntrntnl cmmnty tht ths cntry s splt, tht hlf th ppltn hs n rght t vt, n prt n th dmcrtc prcss, r bng dprvd f bsc ncssts f lf (fd nd nrgy), hv bn rstrctd n mvmnt nd hv t ndr ncrsns nt th Gz strp by srl mltry wh kll ppl by th dzns. Rmmbr th prsng n Tbt? vr 100 ppl wr klld thr, th trg sprd ll vr th wrld. Whn srl klld 120 ppl n Gz (n rtltn fr N srl klld by rckt frd frm Gz), t ws vstd by Grmn chncllr jst 2 wks ltr. Th mttr ws swpt sd, sh ws th frst Grmn chncllr t hv th hnr.
5 mlln ppl klld n th pst r n xcs fr kllng ppl tdy, r bng sprd th jst pnshmnt fr dng s. Yt, n th cs f srl vryn s trnng thr fcs.
Th sm gs fr Sth frc’s wy f dlng wth Zmbbw, th ntrntnl cmmnty ctng n Sdn nd ls stppng th prmnnt wr mngrng n Sml nd thr plcs.
Sorry, I do have strong feelings for the victims of the holocaust and it saddens me all the more to see Israel and other countries get away with similar crimes, even though they have not reached the same scale. This matter is not about the perpetrators of the crimes (the nazis, the SS or whoever) but about crime itself!
Sorry, but that’s way off topic. The Moderation Policy is explicit about introducing highly controversial topics that turn threads into battlegrounds.
I’d like to state for the record that I had nothing whatsoever to do with this Nazi ad campaign and will be filing suit with the Au telecom. Or something.
Hm, I did instantly recognize the SS symbol for such, but I am part Austrian.
>>I suppose that that’s quite similar to a Westerner deciding to name/theme their trendy bar after Mao or Stalin or someone.
Or Che Guevara. I guess ignorance is bliss, and those that don’t understand the atrocities take on the aura without really understanding the reality.
Oh, might I add that I am 29 (born in 1979) so my insight couldn’t run as deep as yours #94, could it? hehe
Yes, you can associate two S’s arranged in this fashion with the SS.
Or you can choose not to.
If we’re still afraid of the arrangement of two letters after 70-some years, I think it’s time we learned how to move on. If we let the letters “SS” still hold some kind of evil power, it’s our own fault.
Just move on.
#20: Beat me to it! I walked past that shop every day on the way to work for years.
#28: There’s an alternate Kiss logo which is used in Germany to avoid legal issues. Compare this with this.
Nazi iconography has a lot less impact in Japan than it does in the US and Europe. The swastika is a common map/GPS symbol that identifies the locations of Buddhist temples, and video game companies have been known to promote WWII shooters at trade shows using men in SS uniforms, complete with replica firearms and flags of the reich. Conversely, in Germany, even doing a Fawlty Towers-style Hitler impersonation will earn you a few weeks in prison. Quite a few English football fans learned that the hard way at the 2006 World Cup, from what I’ve heard.
The odd thing is, if they insist on using “SS” as the branding, a simple fix would be had if they just turned the logo maybe… Although I do hope this issue is just brought to Adidas’ attention so they can just find a better logo; that one is pretty lame even if it there was nothing offensive…
*side-note… I pointed the ad out to a co-worker and she did not get it… Perchance it is my German born French mother, but as a 21 year old American I thought the error was fairly patent.
i didn’t had the time to read all the comments, just saw that everybody is nazihate speaking…
don’t just look at it’s context,
it is a poor and cheap designed logo for a corporate brand.
i would do it in 10 seconds for any Super Service Mini Market client.
The model is obviously dressed as a Waffen SS radio operator. “Angriff! Angriff!”
I’m only twenty, and I noticed the similarity to the SS logo before I read the title of the post. It’s not a generational thing, I don’t think, and there really is no way to deny how it looks.
I’m sure it had no bad intent. It was almost certainly done completely unintentionally, and I doubt it deserves a campaign to change it. But the similarity is definitely, definitely there.
I agree with #76 that pointing this out is just like pointing out all that goatse-looking stuff. Ain’t no one got to accuse Boing Boing of grasping at straws.
Suspected as much. I gave my reason.
(And I guess it’s OK from the moderation point of view.)
Ha! You think that’s super-fucked? Check out the emblem on this website: http://www.xinyiglass.com/. There are huge billboards in Hong Kong advertising this maker of automotive safety glass.
Here in the Far East, people seem to be far less aware of the horror that such symbology arouses in sensitive western psyches. It is not uncommon to see young folk quite innocently wearing T-shirts emblazoned with swastikas. But of course, the swastika is better-known hereabouts as a Buddhist or Hindu symbol.
I have to admit, though, that Xinyi Glass’s choice of layout and choice of colours leave me wondering…
Stared at that logo for 30 seconds, had to read the comments to “get it.” That doesn’t look like the SS logo (which I’m well familiar with) to me. I’m 50 and take Nazi history seriously (why: because it happened in a long-civilized, educated, democratic, middle-class Western country).
If you look at the space between the letters, in the Nazi logo it’s a Z, and in the Adidas thing it’s an S.
About one in twenty words in my online dictionary have ‘ss’ in them. One in fifty if you remove “-ness” and “-less”.
Nobody’s mentioned the 666 in the Proctor and Gamble logo. Or in a plate of shrimp.
“Connecting some random double-S to Nazis is a bit of far reaching, don’t you think?”
Uh, no. I don’t think that at all. What if it was a swastika? It’s been the same amount of time since the same group used it…and I’m willing to bet people woulnd’t be all “oh, come on, it’s been sixty years! Can’t we just use a swastika for non-Nazi stuff now?”
I didn’t recognize the significance until I read the first few comments so it’s not yet universally offensive.
I wonder if there are 88 varieties…
To me, it just looks like a scoliosis awareness ad.
Quite disturbed by some of the comments left by poorly informed individuals accusing the Japanese, Chinese and Koreans of using Nazi symbolism to add a German feel to their products. Obviously it’s difficult to understand a cultural aesthetic when you’re not part of that culture. It’s a good reminder to keep my mouth shut when I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I’m in my 20s, and it wasn’t until I read the comments that I understood the problem. Before that, I thought to myself, “Wow, I didn’t realize anal sex was that controversial…”
Actualyl, I’m all in favor of people taking the symbols the nazis used, and re-using them in any way that has absolutely nothing to do with nazism. They could use a good defusing.
#20 – you know, i’ve been meaning to take a picture of that awning for ages… and now i don’t have to.
Do you know what pisses me off about Nazis? Yeah, they suck for genocide, war, and in general acting like crazy super villains, but there is something even more than that. Those jerks managed to go through and take every other cool looking symbol and make it into pure evil. If you could detach the swastika from the whole killing 6+ million people with industrial mass executions (and lets not even bother going into how many people died putting the Nazis down…), the swastika is an awesome looking symbol.
Anyone who has ever doodled a four sided shape while they are bored ends up drawing the damn things… realize with horror what they just drew, and scribbling some more lines over their doodle to make it go away. The same goes with the SS symbol. That is a neat looking symbol… which the god damn Nazis promptly took and turned into the symbol of for genocidal maniacs. Thanks ass holes. Nazis suck.
In the word of Indiana Jones, “Nazis? I hate Nazis.”
Man, my first thought was “there are only two stripes? Adidas has three.” Took me about a minute to register the problem.
Still, I would hope that people give it more than a minute before they approve logo designs.
OTOH, context is everything, and if these were going up in Europe, it’d be more problematic.
OTOOH, welcome to the Internet, people.
I can only think about one reason to justify this logo – the combination of the designer’s age and lack of education.
Most people I know wouldn’t need to spend more than a split of second to realize what is wrong about this image and I am talking about age range of 20-40.
So good luck in promoting something under this logo.
@ #43 “What if it was a swastika?,/i>”
What if it was a giant inflatable penis?
But it’s not, it is some random double-S.
I am familiar with the SS logo, yet I must confess that I am with #37. The first thing I saw was not a malevolent symbol with the associated violent history, but two people giving each other entertainment.
What’s wrong with that? Adidas is selling athletic fashion, and Himmler’s SS were known for being the best dressed military /security force in history. I mean, their uniforms were designed by Hugo Boss.
What about the double “s” in the KISS logo? Wonder why they never caught any flack?
i guess if your family members were killed in the holocaust or by nazis you would care. if not, no biggy. who gives a shit, right?
I’m 28 and saw it as resembling the SS logo instantly. Admittedly, I’m an ethnic Jew, and thus had OMG THE HOLOCAUST WAS THE WORST THING EVAR drilled into my head my entire childhood. But still, there’s a lot of Jews out there, you know? And a lot of people who were in WWII or had family members who were.
I never noticed it in the KISS logo, though, perhaps because I always saw it as part of a word, rather than as the two letters SS.
As noted above, KISS uses the same “runic” style of S, as does Slayer. Slayer’s even gone as far as to prominently feature WW2-era German symbology and themes in their visuals and lyrics. Several other bands have used the “Sig Rune” as well –
So, firstly, allusions to the Schutzstaffel are the stuff of 80′s shock rock. Not terribly exciting in this day and age.
Secondly, these S’s are more rounded, and nested, unlike those of the Schutzstaffel, which are angular and parallel.
Lastly, acronym finder has 250 potential meanings for “SS”:
Sure, they’re similar, if you want them to be. But it’s a bit of a stretch to call this “problematic logo design”.
Laugh at the silly foreigners failing to understand a vague cultural connection, and move on.
@45: “Actualyl, I’m all in favor of people taking the symbols the nazis used, and re-using them in any way that has absolutely nothing to do with nazism. They could use a good defusing.”
You mean the way the Hell’s Angels did? Um,maybe not defused enough, you think?
Don’t try such defusing in Germany. You’d have better luck walking through the Rosebud reservation with a 7th Cavalry pennon.
I saw it immediately, but I still think it’s pretty tenuous, honestly. Bright orange doesn’t exactly scream “Nazi”, and the use of a gaunt, black and white model is hardly uncommon in advertising. I really think this could be made more acceptable if they just changed the shape/position of the letters slightly.
I agree that Nazi symbols shouldn’t be used casually- not, as someone earlier suggested, because I think censoring them could magically change history and undo the Holocaust, but because becoming desensitized to them and using them casually trivializes the horror of the Holocaust, and once it’s seen as “just another event in history”, it’s much more likely to happen again. But even so, one should be reasonable- if it doesn’t look VERY similar to the Nazi SS logo, then it’s just two letters side by side. I personally don’t think this logo is quite similar enough to be offensive, personally.
I didn’t get the SS connection, which I’m not ashamed of. I studied the Wars at school, of course, but we didn’t focus on branding, particularly, and I think the resemblance is really pretty vague anyway.
I certainly doubt more than a very few of Japanese people would notice it, and as this appears to be an au-led product (it was most probably them who commissioned the design), that’s likely to be the only place the logo will ever be used. The casual use of the Nazi swastika in Japan – because when it’s black on white surrounded by red, that’s what it is, even here – does drive me crazy, though. Of course, it’d be ridiculous to get offended by it in contexts such as marking temples on maps and so on.
For sake of balance, this is from Vans:
The second poster is more right than I suspect he knows when he calls them “sick as fuck”. I wouldn’t wear them in China…
Hmm… After the fake OBAMA is a monkey AD dispute I start to think that foreigners living down here in Tokyo should start to relax and stop acting like little kids plagued by GAIJIN PARANOIA, or, sooner or later, they will start to write that buddhist temples in Japan are using the swastika…
Just try to google “Super Sport logo”:
Wow!! So the car companies with a super sport model in reality are supporting nazi culture!!!
Let’s all say NO to “GAIJIN PARANOIA”!!
All Day I Dream About Schutzstaffel?
The KISS logo doesn’t matter because that sort of thing is expected in RnR and is just viewed as childish posturing. Think about it, does anyone besides Gene and his employees really take KISS seriously? Did their zillions of fans turn into Nazis?
I’m with #36…. I stared and stared at the logo and the best reason I could come up with was that it looked like some sort of sitting-down sex.
I certainly learnt about WWII at school but the SS insignia isn’t really burned into my brain. Where have most people seen this symbol before? Have I just not watched enough war movies?
The visuals I can conjure most readily about WWII are: evacuation (kids with parcel-style labels on); blitz, unexploded bomb signs, burning buildings; planes overhead; air raid shelters; ration books; women in munitions factories; Hitler, swastika, goose-step, salute; concentration camp victims. This is heavily weighted toward the British domestic experience. I hope this makes me differently educated rather than utterly lacking in education. :/
#37 “And humans haven’t progressed a whole heck of a lot since.”
Maybe not your branch of the family treeâ€¦.
Even 60 years back allot of people thought this racial mess was all pure idiocy (scary yes but arenâ€™t all idiots when they get together in agreement?). I say, itâ€™s a bad idea to give old negative meanings renewed power. Especially when we are talking symbols that have been borrowed from another place. And especially when the design isnâ€™t even â€œexactlyâ€ the same.
Wasn’t there a home depot type store in Virgina in the 80′s early 90′s that had a large SS logo in black and red in front of all their stores. It was Southern …. ?
“What about the double “s” in the KISS logo? Wonder why they never caught any flack?”
Because they’re really Nazis?
It’ snot like they opened a Nazi-themed drinking saloon named “Hitler” or anything crazy like that.
Hey, I’m in my mid 20′s and it struck me as pretty fucked-up immediately. Just saying.
#51 FRANKIEZ – “Just try to google “Super Sport logo”"
My first car was a ’70 Chevelle SS…a few..years ago…
I see it, and it’s definitely not an intentional connection. I don’t think it’s too obvious that it should’ve been noticed (being in Tokyo, not the West,)before going into production.
There is really enough to distinguish this from the Schutzstaffel. The latter look like lightning bolts, have hard angles, and are actually far superior to my personal sense of aesthetics.
This is ugly, orange, wavy, rounded, makes explicit use of the negative space between S’s, and has a totally different angle between the two S’s.
Certainly it’s nothing to condemn anyone over, and I hope no one suggests that it is so. If anything, it is simply unfortunate for Adidas stockholders if this blows up.
…Finally, this is sort of reminding me of the Rachel Ray nonsense.
I hear their brown shirts are to die for.
What is the logo supposed to convey? It doesn’t have a sense of movement or energy like the swoosh. Semantically, it says:
I really, really need to sit down. In fact, get me two chairs so that I can have a bit of a lie-down. I can’t understand why my knees are buckling and I can’t hold myself upright. I ate a peanut on Thursday. Or was it Tuesday?
um.. *Super* super-fucked?
I agree that it is the combined elements of the ad, not just the logo, that conjure the idea of a slick young Stormtrooper on a field radio. It’s not like it’s a conspiracy or something, just a poor choice of advertising for a German company.
So now we can never use SS just because of the Schutzstaffel? Give me a break.
I think the similarity to a war-era symbol from over 60 years ago is incidental. I doubt their target demographic is likely to notice or care about the similarity.
That said, once you pointed it out, I did think it was kinda funny. That girl has way too much junk on her arms, too.
LOOK: the facts: The company’s founder was a Nazi; his brother was an SS trooper. What the hell more do need, people? Coincidence, my aching ass!
As far as it being an ancient symbol, it wasn’t the first Time that one was used by a bunch of lunatics…
Et iz no big sing; ve are chest choking…
Adolph Dassler, founder of Adidas was an ardent Nazi who signed his letters “Heil Hitler”. Coincidence? I think not.
One of Adidas’ CEOs used to send cash to his uncle in Latin America – Mengele. Which is why I stayed away from BMWs and them when I possibly can.
because I don’t believe in censorship:
can’t believe the level of whining in the comment section. wonder how many people “had their day wrecked by the mean/bad SS logo on Boingboing.”
Sensitivity is for wireless equipment.
Ok guys and dolls, lets throw down a little bit of orgy:
First they will seduce you with shoes
Then they will rip out your golden teeth
Assimilate your soul
And remember you not
Nice choice of words, very refined.
remember to have winamp running and play voiceless fucked up electro, then cut yourself and smear blood over your genitals to put on your milk necklace and drag a magic branch over the wall.
Blues Brothers: “Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis”
Razzabeth, do a google image search for nazi bolts.
It took me a bit to realize that you’re comparing it to the Schutzstaffel “SS”. Secret Nazi-Adidas conspiracy?
or allah sneakers
What about the red and black hat? Not just that it clashes with the orange of the design.
For those who find this post/image a bit too ambiguous…
Uh, I don’t get it. Why is it super-fucked? Cuz the girl is all anorexic?
I didn’t read through all of those 100+ comments, but I don’t think offence is the issue for most.
This files under “Grand Marketing Fuck-ups”…in the same vain as having cars/tanks named pinto or pajero.
It was cute, yet the apparent ignorance makes it a bit not-so-funny…
@ 83: OMG THE HOLOCAUST WAS THE WORST THING EVAR”
As a German, I couldn’t agree more.
The Holocaust was the worst thing, ever.
I do understand that at some point in ones life one might have heard this too often – and you can catch a documentary about the Second World War and related themes on German TV every day – but the thing is:
IT REALLY WAS THE WORST THING. EVER.
Of course I’ve seen the similiarity of the SS-Runes and this ad immediately and I’m offended. I don’t think these Runes should be forgotten, I just don’t think they should be used, for everything they irrevocably represent. And especially not by a German company. I can’t imagine how this left the office – how come nobody spotted this?
I saw it immediately before even reading the header. I’m 26, so I don’t think it’s generational. But I think it is very much cultural. I would’ve thought nothing of the rising sun flag Vans sneakers if it wasn’t pointed out to me. I mean, I knew the symbol, but seeing it abstractly on a pair of sneakers would’ve gone right by me. I assume that’s how this ad campaign came about–nobody in Europe reviewed it and nobody in Japan saw what we see.
And KISS? Seriously? Never even thought about it. Not all funny S’s conjure the SS, but two by themselves placed like the Adidas add…
What really throws me about Nazi symbolism in pop culture is the popularity of swastikas in Mexico. I saw teens with swastikas on their backpacks quite frequently, often combined with patches for punk bands who would be absolutely appalled by Nazi symbolism.
And coming through her headphones, “don’t know much about history…”.
Listen, MOO is right. His brother, according to Wiki, was SS. Jesus Christ, what sort of…
#81 posted by Evil Jim
“I didn’t recognize the significance until I read the first few comments…”
/Then you’re not living up to your moniker.
“So, firstly, allusions to the Schutzstaffel are the stuff of 80′s shock rock. Not terribly exciting in this day and age.”
/Then shame on them; and shame on us.
well, the Holocaust is the worst thing so far… until cheney’s actually nailed up in his coffin with head removed and stuffed with garlic, all bets are off.
Vulgar, obscene outbursts have been. . .the curse of my life.
FWIW, I’m German, but this logo doesn’t immediately evoke Nazi associations. For me, anyway. It’s angled upwards, the letters are the wrong shape, …
The old logo of the KISS rock band was much more evocative.
All Jelly No Toast wrote: There is really enough to distinguish this from the Schutzstaffel. The latter look like lightning bolts, have hard angles, and are actually far superior to my personal sense of aesthetics.
That’s one thing you can say about the Nazis. They were snappy dressers.
Just because the founder of Adidas, Adolph Dassler, happens to be German & it is a German-based company, that does not mean the company is associated with Nazis.
Connecting some random double-S to Nazis is a bit of far reaching, don’t you think?
oh wow man! they must be SUPER Nazis!!!
I have to say, I didn’t make the SS connection until I viewed the comments.
cn’t blv th lvl f whnng n th cmmnt sctn. wndr hw mny ppl “hd thr dy wrckd by th mn/bd SS lg n Bngbng.”
Snstvty s fr wrlss qpmnt.
and then theres like the Dogon Chromosone Nazis!
OH, and YES that is one hot SS radio operator!
Yeah, I may be a bit older than the average here on Boing Boing (born 1946), but the first thing I noticed was the SS lightening bolt logo from WW II even before I read the post.
(Of course Japan had it’s own adgenda and problems at the time, and that symbol may not be as instantly recognizable there.)
In any case, possibly a poor choice for a business logo when exported to the rest of the world…
As a copy shop designer… just this week a guy (maybe Pakistani?) wanted me to make a nifty SS logo for him that was pretty much exactly that. I had to let him know of the possible connotations, and he had to go back and have a re-think.
It is a bit of a marketing snafu, but if it was going into a market where no-one knew the difference (including the designers, apparently) than no harm done. I would thought, though, that Japan might-a remembered their old war buddies.
Would have been better if the ad was for some nice goose-steppin’ boots, though hahaha
I don’t think they’re attempting to connect the two things, but it is an unfortunate choice. This reminds me of a Buddhist (?) symbol that stands for luck and is widespread in China I believe, that is a swastika. Sure, it means something good to them, but the rest of us can at least have a good-natured laugh at the Nazis.
Tennis shoes, anyone?
This is not a random double-S this totally looks like a Schutzstaffel SS – and being German I totally think it looks fucked up.
And believe me absolutely noboday at adidas did see this in advance and approved it – for sure not someone raised in Germany …
#3 actually it isn’t much of a stretch when you compare the logo.
TIAN (@#3), I actually wasn’t even thinking of Adidas as being a German company. I just agree with Terre that the shape of the letters and the SS looks a lot like the Nazi SS insignia. And no, I don’t think it was done on purpose.
This logo’s not as problematic as some might think. The Schutzstaffel “SS” insignia has the two esses side by side and the edges are much sharper.
This pairing makes me think of shoe treads more than letters. I doubt the age demographic that this ad aims to reach will even make the association.
Hey guys, The Nazis also used a backward swastika as their logo, this means the Bhuddism is related to Nazis.
You’re kidding, right?
Please – tell me you’re kidding…
For one thing, I don’t really see the resemblance. But that aside:
I don’t really see how the logo design is “problematic” if it’s being used in a country where that sort of imagery is really a problem. I would venture to say that most Japanese people aren’t all too familiar with the SS logo (less than .05% of the Japanese population, by the way, is Jewish).
You can be offended all you want, I guess, but they’re not really marketing to you and I don’t see how they should change the logo design to prevent offending a culture that they didn’t really intend for the logo to be seen in.
Yea that immediate notion that it’s the SS symbol is bad. Has nothing to do with the german roots of the company founder, but more like the immediate mental “looks like” association.
@ #2: This is why. Do you need a 20th Century history 101 class?
“This pairing makes me think of shoe treads more than letters. I doubt the age demographic that this ad aims to reach will even make the association.”
Sadly, you may be right.
I don’t know, I didn’t see an “SS” logo until somebody said it. It’s not the first thing that pops into my mind by a long shot. In fact, my first response was, “oh a cell phone add, that means I don’t have to pay attention.” Doesn’t it take two to tango (by which I mean “massively misconstrue some innocuous bit of advertising into something to get all worked up about”)?
#87 posted by Teapunk: so true
#90 posted by Smurf: I agree, but it is the second thing that comes to mind. The first thing that comes to mind is a symbolism of the Nazi, not so much the wickedness of their deeds. But ten minutes later, there’s not that much difference. BOO! rabble rabble rabble.
Looks pretty blatant to me. That’s not gonna fly in Europe.
I can’t believe no one has pointed out the extreme malnutrition of that model… That’s not just an SS logo – it’s paired with a concentration camper.
#4 actually a generational hiccup may indeed be at work here. I’m in my mid-40′s and immediately saw the connection.
seeing it really appears to be a cultural thing, both generational and geographical.
I’m above thirty and I saw it instantly. On the other hand, even when I pointed to the logo, my Japanese wife didn’t have a clue of what the problem was. I had to show her the nazi symbol.
And a crime against good posture to (jack)boot…yuk.
By the way Gene Simmons is Jewish, was born in Israel, and lost relatives in the Holocaust, his mother being the lone survivor on her side of the family.
to borrow a term from an explanation of Sino/Japanese ideograms (kanji, characters); there are only so many radicals to form symbols from. I would call a wavy line a “symbol-radical”. It’s going to crop up everywhere there is sand, dust,mud, snow, ice, skin, rocks,paper etc. to write on. TWO wavy lines is hardly a jump. If there is no intent here to link with a given meaning of a time and place in human history a few years long, then there is obviously no foul. What DOES happen though is that people do get pissed off with the “crying-wolf”. Which in turn hurts the cause.
I think it looks more like fumes coming from some stinky ass old gym shoes. Or from the stupid tag line. Alternatively, they could be promoting buttsex over old sneakers.
When I asked my tattooist the other day to do her thang and flap a swastika across my face, she refused and said that that would be plain silly…
@#70: the swastika is a pre-buddhist symbol, having nothing to do specifically with buddhism. in fact it often appears in hindu iconography but rarely in buddhist arts. it was developed in various cultures, including several native american tribes, as a sun and energy symbol. hitler’s art director albert speer was well aware of these references and like many a designer before and after him, sampled from existing sources.
the contemporary artist known as manwoman has dedicated his career to reclaiming the swastika as the sacred symbol it was before the nazis got ahold of it.
godwin’s law x1000, eh ?
@3: Seeing a symbol and relating it to another hugely-famous symbol is far reaching? I disagree wholeheartedly.
The visual connection doesn’t mean there’s a connection of meaning, of course. And these are anything but “random double-S” marks. They’re very close to the angular, Nazi SS symbol.
Add the very thin model posed in a way that makes her shoulder jut out a bit and accentuate how small she looks and — even though she’s far from starvation — I think of conecntration camp prisoners.
On top of that, the use of a black-and-white photo reinforces all of the above because most images from the camps are black-and-white.
The thin woman, her pose, and the black-and-white photo are minor poinst, but they make things worse when all put together.
I know others have already said some of what just I did, but please count this as corroboration rather than simple repetition.
Didn’t get the SS reference until someone mentioned although I’m quite familiar with it.
After reading the post I thought it as two people spooning, it is obvious now but I still can’t see it as logo for Ã¼bermensch without mental effort.
This lovely awning in Vancouver’s Chinatown is even closer to the original symbol. It’s been there for years and it still amazes me every time I pass it.
Alternatively, they could be promoting buttsex over old sneakers.
It needs to be promoted?
This will certainly inspire people to run…