Brands and Packaging in the GDR (1949-89) – Heidelberg

A Special Exhibition commemorating the Fall of the Berlin Wall on till March 9, 2010:

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Fewa Brand Logo. Image Courtesy of Heidelberg Marketing

Brands and Their Packaging is an interesting exhibition that is currently on at the German Museum of Packaging in Heidelberg. Don’t be fooled by the name of the exhibition because this telling retrospective is much more than just about consumer product packaging or packaging technology.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, this special exhibition puts together a piece of history from the everyday life in the GDR through a display of some of the brand name goods that were available in shops in the East between 1949 and 1989 and their packaging.

Some of these GDR products such as Radeberger Pilsener Beer, Rotkäppchen Sparkling Wine and Fit Dishwashing Liquid, have made successful leaps into post-reunification retail trade and are well known in the Federal Republic of today whilst others have faded away.

Exhibition Insights

The exhibition provides interesting and unusual insights into the commodity economics and consumer culture of the former East by comparing similar products from separate parts of Germany.

Products are placed side by side, complete with their original packaging and information on how they are sold so that viewers can gain a perspective of the difference in East/West consumer culture.

Another fascinating aspect of the exhibition reveals how the State had used advertising for propaganda purposes. When Erich Honecker’s assumed office in 1971, the last private enterprises were nationalized and consolidated and advertising became exclusively an instrument of state propaganda. Unlike in the West where advertising is used for purposes of imprinting brand identity, the East German authorities used it as means of controlling the market. Older generation East Germans may remember slogans like slogans like “Two eggs are better than one!” or “Chicken’s diligence at no expense!” and “Eggs are a bargain!”. These slogans were put out to try and get consumers to buy more eggs when there was an oversupply in the poultry sector.

Many people remember Ronald Reagan’s famous words “tear down that wall” and have vivid memories of the eventful day when the Berlin Wall was torn down on November 9, 1989, but memories of how life existed in the two German states and their differences become blurred over time. It’s great that this exhibition by the the Museum of Packaging is able to document this piece of social history for our enlightenment and enjoyment.

The exhibition is on till March 9, 2010.  Read more about this Exhibition here.

German Museum of Packaging
Hauptstrasse 22 (inner courtyard)
69117 Heidelberg
Telephone: 06221 – 21361
Telefax: 06221 – 658414

Opening Hours
Wednesday – Friday: 13:00 – 18:00
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays: 11:00 – 18:00
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays (except holidays)

Entrance Fees

Adults: € 3.50
Pupils, Students, Physically Challenged: € 2.50
HeidelbergCard holders: € 3.00

Anyone else have feelings about this?


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