The BVG has had some memorable advertising campaigns, but it feels like they set an entirely new precedent with their most recent video. In it, the city’s public transport company announces that they’re applying for a spot on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. How do they motivate this rather ambitious claim? Read on to understand a bit more about the campaign that will most likely surround you in some shape or form for the upcoming months… unless you get everywhere by bike.
When I first heard about this initiative, my initial guess was that the campaign probably doesn’t revolve around the U-Bahnhof Schönleinstraße. I was right for the most part, but, in their usual fashion, the BVG has decided to ridicule plenty of elements of the modern hipster Berlin – and possibly in a more pronounced way than ever before.
Exploring the ubiquitous Berlin cliches of foreigners coming to the city in order to ”find” themselves, the first part of the video is a testimony to a dynamic city. A city not without its flaws – a coworking space replacing a typical Berlin Kneipe is an image especially pertinent to some urban changes that leave many quite wistful.
But gentrification issues aside, the new BVG spot looks at the capital and its ever-changing, sometimes messy ways, before declaring that ”luckily there’s one place where Berlin still remains Berlin”. And before you dismiss the whole thing as completely unrelatable, the video continues with the irony, this time mercilessly applying it to the BVG itself.
In the midst of all the ridicule, a conclusion is made that because of their cultural impact, the BVG should be officially considered a part of world heritage. Some more specific reasons are given on the campaign’s website, which claims that the BVG fulfills two of UNESCO’s criteria, “exhibiting an important interchange of human values” and presenting “[…] an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history”.
Anticipating certain disbelief towards the campaign, the video features people reacting to the idea with plenty of skepticism. And while that’s probably the most reasonable approach towards the UNESCO application, I’d grant the BVG some kind of seal of approval today, and that’s for continuously recognizing Berliners’ goofy appeal.