East German advertisements of the 1950s and 1960s

On the Vintage Ads LJ group, the always-great Man Writing Slash has posted a marvellous collection of East German advertisements that combine propaganda and sales-pitches and appear to have dropped out of a parallel universe.

East German Ads, 1950s/1960s


  1. I fail to see the “propaganda” in any of those ads.
    Any of them could just as well have come from West Germany.

    1.  Not the one with the blue pioneer necktie.
      I would say there is some subtle difference in the designs, but that’s debatable.

      1. I’m debating it.

        The Bino has a different design, too.  The blue pioneer necktie was standard issue (more or less) and the text itself doesn’t contain any propaganda or even a politcal statement.  The festival itself is a couple of hundred years old.

        The place “am Zoo” dates the poster to 1949–1952, according to German wikipedia.

        1. My remark was only about the “could just as well come from West Germany” part, where the necktie would have seemed misplaced. 
          You can tell more often than not whether some artifact belongs to east or west. I’m just not sure in these particular cases presented here.

          1. Oh, okay, yes. The blue necktie would place it, even w/out the text.

            I think the clear difference bewteen Western and Eastern artifacts is a thing of the lates 60s and 70s and 80s. East German design seemed more stagnant to me.  Probably both a matter of ressources and being cut off from the rest of the world (safe the East Bloc, of course). Plus, less planned obsolescence via fashions.

  2. I’m not a big enough geek to know why boingboing’s logo changed.   Anyone care to enlighten me?

  3. I saw Goodbye Lenin! for the first time a few weeks ago. The depiction in these ads and that movie together portray a sort of soft-focus sweetness to East Germany that is utterly at odds with the propaganda I grew up with. My expectation is that the truth is somewhere between Ostalgie and Reagan-era vilification.

  4. Der Spiegel has a great historical media collection called “Eines Tages” roughly “once upon a time”. They had an article about DDR Ads here: http://einestages.spiegel.de/static/topicalbumbackground/5331/koenig_kunde_kauft_im_konsum.html
    Or you can search the database for items like this http://einestages.spiegel.de/static/AllDocuments/searchForm.html?formids=pageNo%2Ckeyword%2CsearchButton%2CisImageSelected%2CisVideoSelected%2CisPdfSelected%2CsortOptions&submitmode=submit&submitname=&pageNo=0&keyword=ddr+werbung&searchButton.x=0&searchButton.y=0&searchButton=submit&isImageSelected=on&isVideoSelected=on&isPdfSelected=on&sortOptions=0#searchResults

  5. Advertisement is a subset of propaganda (“information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.”).

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