Das HB Männchen

At the birthday party of a friend (a special one - for a computer scientist, the 49th, which is 7x7) WiseMan noticed a DVD on the TV set: Das HB-Männchen in seinen besten Spots.

Now the HB-Männchen is a comic figure that most people our age know. He was used to advertise for HB cigarettes. In an everyday situation awful things would happen, and he would explode and jump up high. A voice from the off would say "Now, no need to get all worked up (literally, to go in the air), have a HB cigarette". And he would smoke. In some later ones there was a short sequence showing him solving the situation, after having a smoke.

The DVD is 99 minutes - and they have cut the smoking out of every single short! There are something like 190 shorts on the DVD, including some that were never broadcast.

It is interesting to analyse the spots - Bruno always had modern furniature, he doesn't seem to be married, he has great vacations and lives in different homes all the time. The only spots with him in the kitchen are in black and white - the older ones. This would be an interesting research topic - the picture of Germany reflected in the HB-Männchen comics.

1 comment:

Chris Sobieniak said...

Noticed this old post and didn't mind commenting about it.

I first heard of this character and the ads a few years back, and found them quite intriguing from an American standpoint (where cigarette advertising in this country had been restricted for many decades, the only few times an animated character was touting a tobacco product was The Flintstones on the early 60's).

I found a DVD-R copy of the DVD out there in InternetLand and got to see all these spots as well, shame they don't leave in the product bit at the end though, as after all of those incidences, I can see why someone would want a cigarette in those situations! It's like a cool-down moment, very effective for it's time. Much of the action and delivery reminded me more of the Donald Duck cartoons of my youth where we'd have a character so frustrated in his everyday action it becomes comedy. We can well-relate to this person and the trouble he gets into or tries to solve in the end, we all hope to do the same too without driving ourselves nuts in the process.

The only spots with him in the kitchen are in black and white - the older ones.

There's at least one I noticed of him going in the fridge, taking out a carton of milk and having a hard time opening it, but that's all I remember.

A research topic on this might be interesting concerning the settings of the ads and how they might relate to where Germany was at the time they were seen. I get the impression they wanted to portray the Good Life as seen through one's ability to have a job, a home and time for leisure such as travel. I do wonder if this relates well to where the western side of the country stood during the Cold War where the conveniences available to West Germans were what advertisers wanted to remind them of. Too bad I forgot most of my studies on this subject from high school, but it's something to think when viewing these from a today's perspective, where we take things for granted and not think of how hard things were then.