In 1969, 15 of the most important manufacturers of household electronics in the territory of the GDR were merged to form the Association of People's Own Businesses for Electrical Consumer Goods. The Vereinigung Volkseigener Betriebe (VVB) associations, which were introduced in 1948, were considered a planned economic element for the control and management of industrial and service companies. In the »Honecker era« of the 1970s and 1980s, many of the existing VVBs were transformed into Kombinate (combines).
But let's get back to the VVB Elektrische Konsumgüter. The 15 companies that were part of the association in 1975 included numerous well-known and long-established manufacturers such as Kombinat VEB Elektrogerätewerk Suhl or VEB Bergmann-Borsig from Berlin. Many of these manufacturers had created their own brand names for their products, some of which had been established on the market for decades. For example, »Omega« hoovers, »efbe« heating pads or »Komet« razors were common brands and well-known among GDR citizens in the 1960s. In order to make the variety of names of the products on offer clearer, the companies were instructed to market their articles under the umbrella brand »AKA ELECTRIC«. Many of the previously familiar brand names then disappeared, but there were also some exceptions such as the »Acosta« grill or the classic »bebo sher« razor, which continued to be marketed under the previous name.
The newly created product line »AKA ELECTRIC« was marketed on advertising television with the slogan »AKA electric – at home in every house«. AKA stood for the slogan »Active on the market – Concentrated in trading activities – Up-to-date in the range«, ELECTRIC of course referred to the electrical operation of the appliances. The product range of »AKA ELECTRIC« was very diverse. For example, there were air showers, shavers, mixers, manicure machines, ondulating wands, hoovers, fans, toasters, blenders or heating pads.
Numerous electrical household items of the umbrella brand »AKA ELECTRIC« and its predecessor »IKA ELECTRICA« are in the collection of the DDR Museum. For example, we have the hoover »AKA effect 3002«, the stirrer »Komet RG5«, a bicycle dynamo, the hairdresser »LD 11«, the heating shoe »Sandalon« and a Christmas tree light in our inventory. On our Facebook page, products of the »AKA ELECTRIC« brand are presented in a picture folder analogous to the blog.
With the political change in 1989/90, the umbrella brand »AKA ELECTRIC« disappeared from the market. Some of the traditional manufacturers remembered their roots and returned to their old names from 1990 onwards. Large parts of the former factories and production sites were closed down in the course of the privatisation wave at the beginning of the 1990s.
Editor's note: The blog article first appeared on 22 March 2018.