Berliners on the city's main shopping drag, the "Ku'damm", were greeted Thursday with an unusual sight: a giant mocked-up image of Chancellor Angela Merkel in a matching purple bra and knicker set.
The 100-metre-square (1,000-square-foot) image of the half-naked world leader is part of a nationwide advertising campaign for an underwear company aiming to cash in on the success of a "cash-for-clunkers" scheme for old cars.
Punters trading in their old underwear will get a five-euro (seven-dollar) discount on a new pair, the advert promises, under the slogan: "The country needs new undies."
The electronic advert -- on a busy road junction in the heart of former West Berlin -- was certainly causing a stir on the streets, with scores of people taking snapshots of the billboard with cameras or mobile phones.
"I think it's great. Brilliant. It's a positive signal for the economic situation in Germany," said a 54-year-old who gave his name of Meier adding he would "definitely" trade in his old pants at the first opportunity.
A 37-year-old called Bebe said: "I think it's fantastic that you can look at something funny when you're waiting for the bus."
Merkel herself was tight-lipped on the subject. "The chancellor's office does not want to comment on the campaign," a spokesman said.
This is not the first time the 54-year-old chancellor has made waves, intentionally or not, with her dress.
Last year, she made front-pages around the world after wearing a revealing low-cut dress to the opening of the Oslo Opera House prompting headlines such as "Merkel's Weapons of Mass Destruction" from British tabloid the Daily Mail and "Deutschland boober alles" from media gossip website Gawker.
In 2006, another British tabloid, the Sun, snapped her changing into a bathing suit while on holiday in Italy under the headline "Big in the Bum-destag", a reference to the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament.
Lined up behind Merkel in the advert are other members of Germany's political elite, also in their underwear, including Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who aims to unseat Merkel in upcoming elections.
"I don't really understand it. I don't know who they all are. Apart from Merkel, of course," said a 24-year-old who gave her name as Sonja.
2006年，英国另一家报纸《太阳报》拍到默克尔在意大利度假时更换泳装的照片，该报在登出照片时所用的标题是《Big in the Bum-destag》（《我的臀部很大》），暗指德国议会下院（Bundestag）。