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John Doe (also Joe Sixpack or just John Doe ) is a fictional character with the average needs and characteristics of the population. The name describes the average consumer in market research .

Origin and meaning

The name became popular through the German feature film Berliner Ballade from 1948, one of the first film projects of the post-war period . Gert Fröbe plays the Wehrmacht soldier who has returned to Berlin, the average consumer . Screenwriter Günter Neumann put him on as an average man and honest guy who struggled through life in the ruined capital. He finds work in a print shop that produces signs with the words “Goods not yet arrived”.

Otto's surname is based on a quote. “For normal consumers only” stood on tokens for food allocation that were issued since the beginning of the war and for several years after the war ended. They went to people who - unlike hard workers, pregnant women or disabled people - had no special need.

Since the imperial era, Otto has been called a thing in Berlin that expresses respect for it in expressive salutations, such as a roast: “That’s an Otto!” The actor Hans Albers , who became a star around 1930, popularized the phrase and wore it himself Nickname "Otto-Otto". Neumann knew Hans Albers when he wrote the script for the “Berliner Ballade”. In the original, Neumann's cabaret program “Black Market” from 1947, the figure was still missing.

In his book Hitler's People's State , the historian Götz Aly wrote that the name of "the proverbial average Otto consumer" came from the war period around 1942. The statement is not substantiated.

Replacement of the type

With the differentiation of consumer behavior in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1970s, the type lost its significance. A 1979 study found new " Sinus milieus ". “The regular consumer ' ordinary consumer'”, wrote the market and consumer researcher Rüdiger Szallies , “is being replaced by the postmodern anything-goes type 'Markus Possible', who is open to all options.” In addition, the ordinary consumer was a man while much new sales growth came from women. The different consumer behavior of West and East German households from 1990 onwards could not be found in a normal Otto consumer either.

Other generalizations in German

Otto Normalbürger or Otto Normal also appear as similar names . Further personalizations are common in the German-speaking area:

See also

Wiktionary: Average consumer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Joe Sixpack - Ordinary Otto. , January 2, 2009, accessed October 29, 2019 .
  2. ^ Ordinary citizens. OpenThesaurus , 2019, accessed October 29, 2019 .
  3. Prof. Dr. Otto Normal advises ... German Research Foundation , 2019, accessed on October 29, 2019 .
  4. ARD morning magazine : Sportschlau , October 29, 2019.
  5. a b c d e Dietmar Bartz , Superstar Otto Normalverbrauch , in: die tageszeitung , February 1, 2003, online , accessed on September 3, 2018.
  6. Götz Aly : Hitler's People's State - Robbery, Race War and National Socialism , Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 206.
  7. Rüdiger Szallies, changing values and consumption. Landsberg / Lech 1990, p. 53, quoted from Kai-Uwe Hellmann, The ideal customer: as bound as possible and always loyal. In: Heike Jacobsen, Stephan Voswinkel (ed.), The customer in the service relationship. Contributions to the sociology of services, Wiesbaden 2005, p. 101.
  8. ^ Joe Sixpack - Ordinary Otto. , January 2, 2009, accessed October 29, 2019 . , Otto common man. OpenThesaurus , 2019, accessed October 29, 2019 .
  9. Prof. Dr. Otto Normal advises ... German Research Foundation , 2019, accessed on October 29, 2019 .