Almost everyone knows Anton, Berti, Conni, Det, Edi and Fritzchen, ZDF’s Mainzelmännchen. Since 1963, the six cartoon characters have provided entertainment between advertising sports in the program of the second. However, they have long since become mascots and identification figures for the Mainz broadcaster, can be seen on traffic lights and even have the honorary title of the city of Mainz.
But why are there no “Mainzel smokes”? And shouldn’t they be called “Mainzelmänncheninnen” in gender-conscious parlance? ZDF now answers these questions from a viewer.
“The Mainzelmännchen are fictitious cartoon characters that cannot be equated with real people,” the broadcaster explained in a Facebook post on Monday. “In the world of the Mainzelmännchen, topics such as gender, religion, ethnicity, any form of impairment, cultural or social differences and sexual identity, etc. are deliberately not addressed,” it continues.
Mainzelmännchen: without any gloating, malice or sarcasm
The Mainzelmännchen would tell short and always positive stories without any judgement, that was part of their brand core. “They want to put a smile on the TV viewer’s face – without any gloating, malice or sarcasm. In this sense, no one is disadvantaged, discriminated against or taken advantage of by the Mainzelmännchen.”
What the ZDF does not point out, but what some of the users on Facebook can remember: From 2003 to 2004 there was an animated series in the children’s program entitled “The Mainzels”. In five-minute stories, the “Mainzels” experience little adventures around their house – and they lived in it with two Mainzel girls, Zara and Lea, and their shaggy dog Guudnberg. The Mainzel men, who otherwise only have a minimal vocabulary, can also speak in this series as “Mainzels”.