Abgang T-Shirts
Unknown Soldier wears the Abgang T-Shirt "Enjoy Germany" Wolfgang Niedecken wears the Abgang T-Shirt "Keine Macht den Doofen" Ali wears the Abgang T-Shirt "Master Rave" Dr Schneider wears the Abgang T-Shirt "Peanuts"

"Unknown Soldier" (Kuweit) wearing "Enjoy Germany"*

Wolfgang Niedecken (BAP) wearing "Keine Macht den Doofen"

Ali (Warehouse) wearing "Master Rave"

Dr. Schneider (JVA Frankfurt Stadelheim) wearing "Peanuts"*

Amongst Wolves: Adbusting and Merchandise

To cut a long story short: For many years I used to be a collector of outrageous t-shirts. And since I was working for a music magazine I got many of the latest (and sometimes weirdest) designs backstage.

In 1992 I got the job to photograph the German rock band "Rausch". Their bass player came out with some really hilarious and crass t-shirt designs. They were looking for someone to do their merchandising. At the same time I was looking for additional designs to fill a small t-shirt flyer I planned to print.

I had just published successfully my first t-shirt "Wir sind das Volk" (We are the people) and customers kept asking if I had any more designs.

So we both got together and I published their t-shirt "Keine Macht den Doofen" (No power to jerks). A few months later I was presented with a formal accusation from the advertising agency of the German Ministry of Health. The t-shirt hijacked the logo of their campaign "Keine Macht den Drogen" (No power to drugs).

The lawsuit became a major issue in German public opinion because of its hilariousness. The Ministry of Health had to publicly dissociate itself from the lawsuit and its own agency. In the end we made an arrangement that allowed me to keep printing the shirt on black cotton instead of white (!).

Meanwhile the t-shirt had become a bestseller and I had to set up a small company to meet the demand.

This was in short the beginning of "Abgang!" merchandising and the beginning of adbusting in Germany. I started modifying other trade marks such as: Shell, Coca Cola, Mastercard, Microsoft and many more. Hijacking their meaning from commercialization to satire.

Inevitably other lawsuits followed, but the public kept laughing and the sales of my t-shirts rocketed.

More about Abgang, its merchandise and adbusting maybe sometime in the future.

Meanwhile check this decent link from 1997, when I held a lecture at the Chaos Computer Club Congress:

* Photoshop satire ;-)

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