Bright as a bottle of water?

There is an ad campaign at the moment that plays on the similarity between the name of a brand of bottled water – hella – and the adjective/adverb hell. The poster ads, versions of which you can view here, have the slogan:

Ein hella Augenblick

The website explains the campaign thus – Das sind sie: Die kleinen Augenblicke, in denen plötzlich alles stimmt – for which I will suggest the translations “These are the little moments when all of a sudden everything clicks” or “These are those little moments when suddenly all is right with the world.”

The photos that accompany this slogan play on both the literal “bright,” “light” and “pure” meanings of hell and its comparative form heller (e.g., the couple looking out at the sun from underneath a blanket) and their more figurative alternatives (e.g., the boy with the mask and snorkel playing in the sprinkler). Likely these ads are also reaping the benefits of the positive associations radiating from the collocations helle Freude – “sheer/pure joy” – and helle Aufregung – “sheer excitement.” In addition, as DWDS provides heiter – “cheerful” – and freundlich – “pleasant” or “friendly” or “cheerful” – in its entry for hell, these related words are probably enhancing the positive vibe as well.

And in case all that wasn’t enough, the association of “lightness” with what is good and, by extension, the association of “darkness” with what is bad, is a fairly powerful in many Western cultures (see this Wikipedia entry for a few examples) and may overlay hell with yet another positive layer of meaning. (Fighting against this for the English speaker is, of course, the meaning of “Hell” in English!)

All this writing has made me thirsty, perhaps if the room is “bright” and “light” enough I can create a small magic moment with an ordinary glass of tap water!

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