Like a Virus

I’ve got a young adult in the house studying advertising and she’s made me aware of how ubiquitous slogans are. The right slogan is marketing gold. I grew up with The Pepsi Generation and its main competitor, It’s the Real Thing. Then there were a variety of catchy phrases for breakfast cereals like Snap, Crackle, Pop and the sexual ones like Strong Enough for a Man, but made for a Woman (deodorant). 

Politicians and social movements know the power of slogans too. Obama: Yes We Can; Trump: Make America Great Again; 20th Century communists: Workers of the World, Unite; War Veterans: Lest We Forget;  Hippies: Make love, not war;  People of colour:  Black Lives Matter

A good slogan can unite and give momentum. Hitler knew this. (Of course, you knew I would somehow segue to those times!) The Nazis loved slogans and we’re all familiar with the insidious nature of most of them. Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer (One people, one nation, one leader) or Sieg Heil (Hail Victory). The Nazis also promoted positive vibes with the holiday slogan of Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy).

Other slogans were simply cruel. There was the sarcastic: Arbeit Macht Frei (work gives freedom) in most of the death and labour camps or the Jedem das Seine (to each his own) at the Buchenwald camp. 

Back in the thirties, Hitler rallied the German people at massive gatherings with pomp, ceremony and with catchy slogans.  Can we even remember the energy of a crowd in these isolating pandemic times? Our current slogan is Stay Home if you’re Sick! Still, ideas continue to spread, now through social media.   In Tainted Amber, I explore how people became contaminated by the power of the Nazi slogans . . . almost like a virus. 

Photo:  Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-04481B / CC-BY-SA 3.0

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