This Crazy Supermarket Commercial Provides a Window Into German Culture

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 24 2014 2:03 PM

This Crazy Supermarket Commercial Provides a Window Into German Culture

Supergeil
Fine, so I can't explain the milk.

YouTube

If you’re still not convinced that the German grocery-shopping experience is far superior to ours, please allow me to present as evidence this brain-bending 3-minute promotional video for the supermarket chain EDEKA, which currently has 1.3 million YouTube views and counting.

As BuzzFeed has already attested BuzzFeedily, the clip, called “Supergeil,” is stupendous even if you don’t understand the lyrics. But some of them are ripe with pretty hilarious sexual entendre. Even the titular adjective, geil (pronounced guy-l), has—like all the best German words—multiple meanings, two of which happen to be “cool” and “horny.” Because you are supergeil and I love you, I have provided a full translation here—my favorite line is the rhyme of “sushi” with Muschi, or “pussy” (referring, technically, to a cat).

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An attitude toward sex that is equal parts pervy and blasé is one of the many reasons that German television is, like its supermarkets, superior to our version. On the show mieten, kaufen, wohnen (“Rent, Buy, Live”)—which is like House Hunters if every single person on it had a budget of $800 a month and was mind-blowingly ineffectual at finding an apartment—the potential tenant was once a 21-year-old amateur porn actress who needed a special room to do her webcam work. The real estate broker responded with deadpan whimsy of a uniquely Teutonic sort.

And deadpan whimsy is the stock in trade of the star of “Supergeil,” a 58-year-old German electro-pop musician, sometime TV host, and actor named Friedrich Liechtenstein (born Hans-Holger Friedrich). The EDEKA ad is actually a remake of Liechteinstein’s semi-viral hit, also called “Supergeil.”

The original song is best described as a German variation on “Gangnam Style”—that is, a gleeful celebration and wicked satire of an area’s defining traits, performed in the spirit of that area. Where Seoul’s Gangnam district is frenetic, sparkling and dripping with aggressive wealth, Germany’s capital, Berlin, is dour, dark (especially this time of year), and self-flagellating about its own perceived banality. But it is also, legitimately, super-cool (and perhaps also super-horny, I couldn’t say).

The song was apparently enough of a viral hit to attract the attention of mega-corporation EDEKA, and now the world. Liechtenstein’s adorable-deadpan virality makes him a very rough German equivalent to Grumpy Cat, except he’s a human who writes techno music and eats sausages (though “grumpy” and “sausages” are arguably redundant with “German”). 

It remains to be seen what will become of Liechtenstein’s new international fame. Based on his killer command of Denglish, I imagine he could do a full translation for an American chain—if, of course, any American chain were supergeil enough, which they are not. (And no, I have no intellectual justification for why he is bathing in milk. Just go with it. Supergeil.)

Rebecca Schuman is an education columnist for Slate.