Dusseldorf For decades, the Hamburg-Mannheimer insurance company’s “Mr. Kaiser” advertising personality was the epitome of German virtues: polite, helpful, and always up-to-date on the world of German insurance. But in May 2011, the Handelsblatt put an end to the idyll: a report painted the picture of an absurd decline coupled with notarial precision in the billing of prostitutes.
In the summer of 2007, Hamburg-Mannheimer (HMI), which had merged with the insurance group Ergo, transformed the traditional Gellert thermal baths in Budapest into an open-air brothel for its 100 best representatives and organized a lavish sex party with dozens of stewardesses and prostitutes.
“There is no good time for such a scandal,” says Sönke Iwersen, co-head of the Handelsblatt investigation team, in the new episode of “Handelsblatt Crime”. But the scandal came to light during one of the international insurance group’s biggest publicity campaigns. At the time, the company was announcing the merger of traditional brands such as Victoria and Hamburg-Mannheimer under the umbrella of the new Ergo brand with the advertising slogan “Insuring means understanding”.
Budapest was not an isolated case
Ergo was horrified by the revelation, denouncing those suspected of responsibility and calling the open-air orgy unique in Budapest. However, he kept secret the independent investigative report that supposedly confirmed this.
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Further investigations by the Handelsblatt finally showed that Budapest was not an isolated case: similar parties with representatives were also held on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, in brothels in Mallorca and in a swinger hotel in Jamaica.
How Ergo misled the public several times about the true extent of the sexual affair, why representatives from Hamburg-Mannheim finally revealed the whole story, and what role Jürgen Klopp, the then head coach of Borussia Dortmund and former advertising partner of HMI, played. explains Iwersen. in the new episode of “Handelsblatt Crime”.
Handelsblatt Crime appears every 14 days and can be heard wherever there are podcasts.
Plus: You can listen to the previous episode of Handelsblatt Crime here.