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“Do you know the Schnipp Schnapp children’s book by Tomi Ungerer”, was the question Bernd Kreutz, proprietor of our advertising agency, asked our retired CEO Jürgen W. Braun one day. One affirmative nod of the head later, Mr Kreutz suggesting inviting Tomi Ungerer to breathe a bit of non-conformist Schnipp Schnapp life into our handles. Why not, we thought. There was a catch, though, in that we first had to get Tomi Ungerer to warm to our little idea.
Our endeavours were rewarded after six months of antechamber antics. Wooed and wooer travelled to the Black Forest, whither Tomi Ungerer had retired in order to recuperate. Showing the world-famous illustrator a suitcase full of door handles over a good lunch in the sunny hotel garden proved an effective way of breaking the ice. To the joy of all present, the interplay of his hands and our handles soon gave rise to depictions of dogs, birds and other animals. These artistic flashes of inspiration were put to effect in the form of “Tomi Ungerer’s Wacky Handles”, a magically breezy campaign in several episodes.
It can be added wholly in passing that our link of friendship with Tomi Ungerer was to lead to still more later on: a political door racing course that, along with Ungerer’s drawings, made its way into no end of museums. And it stands to reason that, here too, the “publishers with a sideline in manufacturing door handles” managed to squeeze a book out of the proceedings.