German non-profit organisation Gesicht Zeigen!'s campaign aims to fight against racist propaganda on the internet
It looks downright spooky. Adolf Hitler conquers social media. In the new and provocative video from “Gesicht Zeigen!”, the Dictator presents, in voice-over, to his young audience, “…the internet will carry the National Socialist idea across all borders. We will use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to find young followers. We will spread fake news via our portals and we are going to manipulate the search engines to move up in the rankings.”
In this way, the spot strikingly illustrates exactly what right-wing groups and activists are doing on the net today. They get in contact first and then try to influence and win over young people on social media networks with propaganda in order to eventually win them over as supporters. This admittedly provocative spot should be a wake-up call:
“Attention, we must not leave social media open to racist misanthropes. We must defend our freedom on and offline against hatred and agitation,” commented Sophia Oppermann, one of the two CEOs of Gesicht Zeigen!, for their liberal-minded call-toaction in Germany.
“Our goal is to show the dangers of racism and to attract new members to our association because we need more people who will actively engage and act against the right in the public sphere,” added Rebecca Weis, the managing director of Gesicht Zeigen!. The goal of the organisation is to promote respect and tolerance in Germany and to combat racism, anti-Semitism and right-wing violence. With campaigns, training courses, educational work and many events and workshops, the association has been actively working against inhuman ideologies and fighting for an open society since its foundation in 2000.
The organisation has prominent support from, among others, TV stars such as presenter Dunja Hayali, actress Iris Berben and singer Sebastian Krumbiegel. “My nation is the lovers all over the world – borderless – it is not enough to just ignore the hate rants on the internet. We should put something in your face. Whoever shouts the loudest gets the most attention. We are just not seeing that online. Therefore, let us be loud together. Loud with positive, constructive thoughts, loud with ideas full of love. This is the best way to meet hatred – in virtual and real life,” Krumbiegel stated, emphasising his commitment.
The spot will be launched on 5th February on the platforms Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo and YouTube which are all frequently used for right-wing propaganda. The goal is to disseminate it virally through online PR support. It will be shown in selected cinemas as well.
“We want to activate and achieve the maximum media attention for this topic. That is why we have let Hitler himself explain the online strategy of the right. No one else can show us the danger more clearly,” explains Stephan Vogel, Creative Director of the agency Ogilvy.
The original recordings used in the spot were recorded from the Nazi propaganda film
“Triumph of the Will” directed by the Nazi propagandist filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in 1934 during the infamous Nuremberg rally of the Nazi Party. In the scenes shown in the spot, Hitler is speaking directly to the Hitler Youth.
The spot is accompanied by a motif showing a hashtag, which bears a striking similarity to the Nazi swastika symbol. The message is here as well: “Fascism conquers the internet. Let’s stop it.” The provoking visual will be used in social media, as print ads and citylight posters in selected places in Germany.
In addition, Gesicht Zeigen! will make various Facebook visuals available to share from their website. Social media users can post them via their own Facebook accounts and thus position themselves against right-wing propaganda online.
For the launch of the campaign, Gesicht Zeigen! teamed up with the exhibition center "Haus am Lützowplatz". Their current exhibition “Rechts” dealing also with the problems of right wing populism. A goading display of flags at the building with the hashtag motif, evoked memories of the darkest era of German history and drew attention to the campaign last weekend. Here, the film was also previewed exclusively to an audience for the first time.
The influencer platform indaHash supports the campaign, in which it provides free coverage on its own platform. "Micro-Influencers are very committed when they are enthusiastic about something and they are an ideal support for viral campaigns," explains Marina Kellner, Business Development Director DACH indaHash.
Already having worked together in 2016, Gesicht Zeigen! and Ogilvy started a joint campaign with the publication of the book “Mein Kampf – gegen Rechts” (“My Struggle Against Racism”). At the time, the copyrights of Hitler’s inflammatory publication had just expired and everyone was able to republish the book, so the association and the agency, together with a European publisher, released their own ‘counter-statement’. The award-winning work combined testimonials from activists who have engaged in Germany against racist propaganda and violence.