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This is the official logo of the convention center in Essen a city of 567,000 people in Germany:

Messe essen logo

If you're a native English speaker, or even a mildly competent ESL speaker, you may have noticed that 'place of events' is something no proper English speaker has ever or would ever think, say, or write. It has every hallmark of Denglish obtuseness -- the awkward adjectival phrase, the faintly ludicrous non-specificity (is there any location in space-time that is not a 'place of events'?), the cack-handed attempt to convey a sense of excitement by stitching together a few random words in the lingua franca of hipness. It looks like something you would read on a Thai T-shirt, or what you'd get if you asked a group of retired East German coal miners twenty seconds to think of a really cool English slogan for their local senior center.

And yet this is the official slogan of a multimillion dollar convention center in Germany's most populous state. This humiliating testament to the dreary stuffiness of German corporate culture has appeared on millions of signs, billboards, stickers, notebooks, cocktail napkins, sanitary pads, shell casings, flags, and streetcar-side advertisements.

What caused this train wreck? One part of me says the answer is obvious. The convention center's marketing director, Alexander Remigius Maximilian Cornelius Ignaz Baron von Shicklgruber started the slogan meeting by saying: 'It came to me over the weekend: Place of Events!' and his fawning underlings immediately congratulated him on the staggering awesomeness of his idea.

But maybe the inspiration was Crazy Vaclav, the swarthy, heavily-accented auto dealer from an unspecified Eastern European country featured in the 1992 Simpsons episode Mr. Plow. (unembeddable video link here). He tries to sell Homer a car from a country that 'no longer exists'. As the Simpsons Wiki puts it, the car is deficient in legroom, 'even for the driver'.

The name of Vaclav's car dealership?



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M. Möhling

> What caused this train wreck?

I asked that crazy--7-digit sum--agency, but they wouldn't tell. I guess that Baron von Shicklgruber either went for a bargain offer from the mom & pop operation[1] that handles his "Internetkommunikation" or he asked his homely in-house press maidens and that's what he got. The mayor is on his company's supervisory board, so maybe he's just being thrifty with taxpayers money. The greens and the Linke want some of his riches for "dringende Vorhaben im sozialen Bereich"®,[2] so he'd better watch out.

1. at page bottom
2. urgent gimmidats


I bet, they paid some crazy agency (maybe Vaclav's Place of Advertise?) a 7-digit sum for it.


Ha, if you think that's bad, how do you like "Cate & Eve", which is short for "CATEring" and "EVEnt". I'm not kidding you.

I worked for them when the management came up with the name a few years ago, and I even told them not to use it because it sounds ridiculous. But they wouldn't listen. This must be the stupidest Germish slogan I've ever come across, and I've come across a few. (Remember the Drink & Drive campaign of BVG, the public transport company in Berlin?)


shicklgruber? war das jetzt wirklich nötig?

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