The Bundeswehr (German military), was less than amused when on the reopening day of their Career center the entire train station next door was full of Bundeswehr adbustings. Anti-militarists hijacked almost thirty advertising billboards which displayed Bundeswehr posters.
Adbustings with the army
For the reopening of the “Bundeswehr center” next to one of Berlin’s biggest public transport stations (S-Bahnhof Friedrichstraße) on Friday, the Bundeswehr had dug deep into their pockets and rented almost all the advertising space in the station concourse. Activists from an unnamed group supplemented the camouflage patterned advertisement posters with stickers in the form of emojis and speech bubbles criticising the military.
After the change, Vomit emojis are stuck next to the slogan “Bundeswehr: zum Kotzen!”
Other posters show Poo emoji which say “Pile of Brown Nazi poo”.
Next to astonished, head-exploding emojis it says: “Whaaat… sexism in the Bundeswehr?”
And crying with laughter emojis sarcastically proclaim against the camouflage background, “LOL, what do I care about human lives?”
“The military is trying to present itself as a good employer,” the activists wrote to us by email. “We cover up this propaganda with our stickers!”
After-work guerrilla fun
“It was super impressive to look through the station afterwards and see adbustings everywhere!” one of the activists involved wrote to us. “Instead of running all over the city and painstakingly chasing down the propaganda posters one by one, we had to go through only one station with our adbusting stickers.”
Unfortunately, the group was only active a few hours after the opening. They hadn’t found the time beforehand, the group said, adding that the unnamed group was unfortunately a semi-professional after-work guerrilla squad “But in spite of that, the adbustings were visible all weekend and reached a lot of people!”
The unnamed group also described the following in their email: “While taking photos, we met an elderly couple. “They wondered if the adbustings were real. After we explained to them what Bundeswehr adbusting is, they thought the action was great.”
Some engaged citizens also tried to remove the stickers. “Thank you very much, the stickers are now full of your fingerprints,” the activists’ email reads: “Let’s hope for the sake of the Bundeswehr-fans that the action doesn’t end up in the anti-terrorism centre or that the State Security doesn’t carry out DNA analyses or house searches again.”
Campaign “Demilitarise advertising!”
The activists received the stickers from the campaign “Demilitarise Advertising”. The “Demilitarise Advertising!” campaign is still sending out sticker sets to be copied in your own city. “We are very happy that activists are organising cool actions with our materials!” says Yver Cleber, spokesperson for the “Demilitarise Advertising” campaign.
In the coming weeks, military advertising supplemented with funny smileys and speech bubbles, like the one now at Friedrichstraße station, is likely to dominate other parts of the city.
More information on the “Demilitarise Advertising” campaign is available at:
Already in December, anti-militarists in Berlin organised an “anti-militarist protest” with smiley stickers:
In Göttingen, the “Aktionsgruppe Störpflicht” reported on Indymedia and the Göttinger Tageblatt that more than a dozen Bundeswehr posters in the Göttingen city area were embellished with stickers of the campaign Werbung abrüsten:
What is the Career Lounge?
Since the end of military service in 2011, the Bundeswehr has been lacking recruits. Since 2014, the Bundeswehr has been trying to recruit people to die with a storefront in Georgenstraße. Due to Corona and construction work, the Bundeswehr shop was closed for almost two years. For its reopening on Friday, the Bundeswehr shop got a new name. It is now called the Career Lounge.
Now they are trying to create camouflage-coloured beanbags, fancy Anglicisms and free merchandise to lure people into the military service. Music, balloons and freebees were planned for the inauguration on Friday. “Will free drinks seriously convince anyone that professional killing is a good thing?” the activists wrote to us in an email.
Career center or career lounge are new terms for old acquaintances; they are reminiscent of the district military replacement offices. In the days of compulsory military service, people were examined there by officers and military doctors like racehorses, asked stupid questions and classified into fitness levels.
The military then decided on the possibilities of the respective military use. That continues to be the purpose of a career lounge, where people get advice on how best to die in the Bundeswehr. “Office jobs in the Bundeswehr also support exploitation and murder”, the activists* wrote to us.
Problematic aspects of the Bundeswehr have no place in the career lounge. One-fifth of women in the military have experienced sexism in the Bundeswehr in the last two years. This is almost three times higher than in other workplaces (https://www.tagesschau.de/investigativ/report-mainz/vollbild-bundeswehr-sexismus-erniedrigung-101.html).
Even if the Bundeswehr denies it: The list of uncovered alleged “individual cases” of organized neo-Nazi networks is getting longer and longer in the military. And where have all the stolen weapons actually gone? Aggressive marketing seems to be their only answer to this question.