Nazi SS Shepherd Neame beer advert in the Evening Standard

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Evening_Standard_15th_December_2005.jpg
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This astonishingly evil advertisment appeared on the back page of the Evening Standard newspaper, underneath the Quick Crossword and Sudoku puzzles on Thursday 15tth December 2005.

At the bottom left is the www.sheperdneame.co.uk website URL. On the right is a graphic of a beer pump with a Spitfire badge. All well and good so far.

Just to left of the beer pump badge is the slogan "A bottle of Britain", an obvious pun on the the "Battle of Britain" and "Spitfire" references which have been a theme in the advertising of this beer for several years, in a spurious attempt to cash in on the heroism of others.

However, in the middle of the advert, presumably to tie in with the crossword puzzle direcly above is a fake "crossword clue":

"_ _ SS"
"German lager (4)

Incredibly, the "SS" is not even in roman characters, but uses the double lighting bolt symbol of the Nazi SS - the Schutz Staffel, who were Hitler's bodyguards and who went on to run the Nazi extermination camps and commit other warcrimes and genocide !

This is utterly unnacceptable as an advert -

  1. The use of unambiguously Nazi genocide symbols to advertise a mediocre British beer, is insulting to the victims of the SS and to present day Germans.

    Shepherd Neame, their advertising agency and the Evening Standard are to blame for this disgrace, and they should all apologise in public.

    Ideally they should donate some money towards a Holocaust education charity, and send the "creatives" and management responsible on a Holocaust awareness training course.

  2. It casts an unwarranted aspersion on German lager, which, despite Shepherd Neame's claims is regulated by the Reinheitsgebot German Beer Purity Law of 1516 i.e. hops, malt, yeast and water and nothing else.

    Even if Nazi SS symbols had not been used, and a normal double S had been used instead, the distasteful implication is still that "German lager" equates to PISS i.e. urine.

  3. It belittles the memory of the Battle of Britain pilots, aircrew and Spitfire aeroplane manufacturing workers - what has a 21st century beer (which only has a "history" back to 1990) got to do with them anyway ?

The Advertising Standards Agency must issue some advice to the UK Advertising industry and to the media, that , with the World Cup finals to be played in Germany next year, this sort of Nazi Germany / Genocide advertising is utterly wrong.

The ASA's record on censuring previous Shepherd Neame adverts using the word "nazi" is abysmal., According to their 2003 annual report (.pdf), despite 98 complaints, they did not even bother to investigate.

There should be some humour about World War 2, but this advert is not funny.

Given the current row involving the Evening Standard and Ken Livingstone over his "concentration camp guard" (i.e. the Nazi SS) insults against one of their Jewish reporters, one would have expected the Evening Standard newspaper to have exercised some common sense and to have rejected this stupid and evil advert.

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24 Comments

As you are obviously an enlightened European Citizen and that Nazi symbolism is illegal in Germany and Austria, If you are so disgusted perhaps you had better report it to EUROPOL http://www.europol.net/ Whoops, they seem to have modelled their logo on the Schutzstaffel too

It's almost as bad as Socialist Ken calling a Jewish reporter a National Socialist Workers Party concentration camp guard! Gosh!

Sensible Germans take this sort of thing in their stride, in the spirit of Trauerdienst. Sensible Londoners should be less concerned about tasteless references to the Nazis and more concerned about their mayor's pandering to the modern heirs of the Nazis' hatreds.

@ Anoneumouse - errm... I think you have the wrong website URL.

The official website of Europol is http://www.europol.eu.int

How does the confusing europol.net website logo bear any close remblance to the Nazi SS symbol ? There are three vague split "s" shapes, but other stuff as well.

Europol is a dubious organisation - what exactly does it do for the average European Union citizen, how much does it cost, and where is the independent complaints investigation procedure ?

Ken Livibngstone was not being bad when he said his stuff, and it is unbeliebvable that nazis are still syaing it was wrong of him to do this. How come the sun and Tory party are allowed to call the eu and labour and anything they dissagree with things associated with nazis, but left wingers canm not m, even though people like ken would have been killed by the nazis, unlike the nazi loving edward VIII, and the tory leaeers

It's only an advert. Get over it.

People really can take things a little too seriously sometimes... Chill out it's only an advert and a small one at that.

It is still an unecessarily offensive and unfunny advert.

Hopefully this time, the Advertising Standards Authority will take some action.


I'm more concerned with the fact that it equates German beer to piss - given that Germany has for centuries had far better laws regarding the ingredients allowed in beer.

The Reinheitsgebot - drawn up in April 1516 states only water, hops and barley can be used.

Have you ever looked at, OR FOR THAT MATTER EVEN SEEN, an ingredients list on a UK beer - nope.

Maybe we've been the ones drinking piss.

@ Mr Scargill - it is dishonest of Shepherd Neame to denigrate German Lager, when they brew and sell Holsten Export under licence in the UK.

Spitfire Ale used to be a bottle conditioned ale when it was launched in 1990, but not these days.

I agree with Mr Scargill - the most shocking thing about this advert is the fact that Germany, along with many other mainland EU countries, piss higher quality lagers than we brew over here.

I find it amusing that Shepherd Neame think that by insulting superior brewers the public will think better of their awfully bland ale.

Surely pot calling kettle black?


Ken using 30’s style Soviet-style propaganda posters to intimidate Londoners in believing their buses and tubes are getting better is an insult to the millions who died under Stalinism…

Or do 40+million dead Russians not count?

@ Vince - Pardon ?

It is obvious to most people that this is not the official website of Ken Livingstone or of Transport for London !

We also object to the use of Soviet imagery such as the (in)"Secure beneath the Watchful Eyes" posters

so if this is not a blog from the mayor of london, I assume it is just called a blog from the mayor of london.
are you cybersquatting on the name then? pray explain.

@ colin spooky -

"are you cybersquatting on the name then? pray explain."

No !

The basic principle of domain name registration in the UK is "first come first served".

This website has been existance since before there was even any legislation for the referendum on whether there should be a Mayor of London. This is not the smae thing as the ancient office of Lord Mayor of the City of London.

This website has never attempted to pass itself off as anything "official", and most people, apart from The Dailyn Telegraph, and a few AOL users, are not confused.

We covered the first election campaign for the Mayor of London and have commented on those initial and subsequent election results and policies ever since.

There have always been links pointing to the official www.london.gov.uk website, which used to be run by the central government Office of the Minister for London, a post held currently by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, part of John Prescott's sprawling Office of the Deputy Prime Minister empire, before being handed over to the Mayor and the GLA etc.

Can kinda get what the ad agency were trying to do, but not right. And besides, it's nowhere near the quality of the earlier Spitfire ads (see http://www.spitfireale.co.uk/advertising/)

There is one very important point that most of you are missing: German beer, no matter how strict the guidelines may be with regards to the ingredients used; is STILL piss. (Actually it's fizzy, unpleasantly so... But I believe my point is conveyed.)

In short, it's taking the piss out of the Germans (who appear to be putting it back in with all the German beer they're drinking) which is what we all need to do once in a while. Remember, they really like David Hasslehoff.

@ "The Stinking Bishop" - so why do Shepherd Neame brew German lager e.g. Holsten Export, under licence ?

crappy sence of humor ...

"Unacceptable"? "Not funny"? Who are these arbitrary thought police? What a pompous, arrogant, humourless, censorious and typically intolerant blog from Herr Livingstone. The Spitfire ads have had people in our office crying with laughter. Because certain individuals find them unfunny or in bad taste is something they alone should deal with. I have bugger all in common with tyrannical puritans and personally find them wholly "unfunny" and "unacceptable" but wouldn't dream of denying the poor lost souls their acres of media space.

Jeez, get over it, its just an advert.

There was already a huge wave of hand wringing when these adverts came out, but we were the only people who were wringing hands! The Germans themselves found the adverts quite humorous and didn't take them seriously.

Has there been a complaint from the EU or from the German embassy here in London over *any* of these adverts? No. So why the fuss?

Typical pretentious Islington liberal luvvies.

And for your information, while Sheperd Neame do brew Holston Pils under license, thats just to make money, most brewers do that as an extra side income while they focus on their main brands.

Spitfire is still an excellent real ale, my local serves it and it is kept in top notch condition. He also has a limited addition book from the brewer listing ALL of their adverts for Spitfire (including the 15 or so banned by the advertising nazis).

@ Prestwick - your choice of the phrase "advertising nazis" in this particular context,
makes you look foolish.

For your information Shepherd Neame only sell Spitfire Ale to make money, that is what all brewers do.

If you enjoy Spitfire Ale, then good luck to you, but there are plenty of better quality British ales available, which do not need to employ offensive
advertising "creatives" who have deluded themselves that they are somehow being clever.

I am very disappointed and saddened by this and would have hoped that Mr Chaplin, with his background in marketing, would have had more integrity, respect and common sense!

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