Endlich August – Das ist Berlin

There are many examples of advertisements garnering a cult following. “That’s Berlin,” the Berlin Morning Post’s theme song, is more than that: It is a declaration of love for the capital city, and is also regarded as the unofficial anthem of the Spree-River-Metropolis and if nothing else is Berliner cultural asset. But how did it come to be, that an advertising jingle could reach such dimensions?

In 2017 the Berlin Morning Post, one of the most popular daily newspapers in the city, was planning to release a more compact version of their paper, which would be smaller in size and also in price. For the Launch of the new format they contracted their regular advertising agency Römer Wildberger for a typical poster and film campaign. However, the head of the agency, Alex Römer, didn’t hold to the briefing and instead went in an unconventional direction: he wrote, together with Philipp Geldmacher, lyrics that worked in a range of Berlin experiences. Together with Stephan Moritz from MOKOH Music and the composer and singer Nico Rebscher, he formed a musical project called Endlich August (Finally August) and produced the song “That is Berlin.” Why the name Finally August? “That is the month in which Berlin is at its finest,” said Römer.

They produced the song in the evening before an important presentation with the higher ups at the Berlin Morning Post who were, at that point, completely clueless about what they had planned. They were immediately thrilled with “That is Berlin,” and that despite the fact that the name of the newspaper never once appeared in the song. That was intentional, Römer explained: “This wasn’t intended to be an in-your-face promotional song, but rather a universally deployable one.” Be it on the radio, at events, or in the queue at a partner event.

To accompany the song, Römer Wildberger collaborated with NOYZ R ZU and the director Tim Stoffel on a music video in which the residents themselves play a leading role alongside the city. Famous people and unknowns, stars and ordinary people, young and old – precisely what Berlin is. The video spread quickly online and was also played in all the large Berlin movie theaters. “that is Berlin” quickly made its way into the playlists of the Berlin radio stations, climbed up the iTunes viral charts in the Top 6 and has also become part of the Berlin Foxes handball team’s cheerleaders’ routine. It played at countless events in and around Berlin, was illicitly played as hold music for companies and also won a number of advertising and media prizes.

But how did it become so iconic? Probably because “That is Berlin“ really gets at the essence of the capital city. It plays around with Berlin’s diversity and its contradictions, its nonconformism and in the end the fact that Berlin is less “either or” and much more “as well as.” In the end, Berlin is the kind of city where a promotional song can turn into a anthem.