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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 27, 2013

Wenn Mülleimer sprechen können. Eine sprach- undmedienwissenschaftliche Analyse derWerbekampagne der Stadtreinigung Hamburg

Frederike Eggs


This paper analyses the clean-up campaign organised by Hamburg’s citycleaning service, SRH. Starting in May 2005, the SRH changed the colourof the city’s litter bins from mousey grey to signal red; they also used thelitter bins to advertise their own services using a variety of speech bubbleswhich were not immediately comprehensible, such as for example “Ihr Müllsieht rot.” (“Your rubbish sees red.”) oder “Ich steh’ frei.” (“I am free.”)These speech bubbles can be referred to as cryptic (litter-bin) utterances.The aim of this paper is to analyse the embedding of these cryptic utterancesin a specific space which is characterised by the presence of the redlitter bin. The analysis is intended to show that the two co-present elementsthat are communicatively relevant in this setting – the red litter bin on theone hand and the adhesive label bearing the cryptic utterance on theother – form a single entity in terms of their spatial-visual arrangement,but not in terms of their semiosis. On the contrary, the cryptic nature ofthese utterances – their ‘wittiness’ – is based on their linguistic “doublemeaning” (Freud 1905), which it is up to the recipient to decipher.

Published Online: 2013-08-27
Published in Print: 2013-08-26

©2013 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin Boston