The Finnish foreign minister has appointed a committee to create a “brand” for Finland, meaning “a strong national image that will enhance Finland’s international competitiveness”.
This cannot be good.
The result, I foresee, will be either tacky, tepid, or untrue — probably all three, with an emphasis on “tepid”. Probably with a vague, meaningless slogan, like “Finland — dare to imagine”.
Or “Finland — it’s there”.
Or “Finland — I’m lovin’ it”.
Most probably this zombie sentence will be smeared over posters of carefully nonthreatening bright summery glades, with a generous helping of young, beautiful, cheerful people of diverse ethnic backgrounds frozen in positions implying great physical vigor, with faces suggesting mild mental retardation.
If you ask me — and curiously no-one ever does! — marketing is the complex and delicate art of legal lying, mostly by implication. (“We didn’t say the drink would attract nubile young women to you, did we? Silly boy!”)
What such a brand will almost inevitably be, mostly because of corporate timidity and the dishonest selectiveness of marketing, is a picture of eunuchoid Finland.
Finland without balls, that is.
Finland, as I see it, is a land of sullen brutish murderers, a land of deep winter depression and quiet, brooding people; a land of harsh, dark winter and short, eerie everlight summer, a land of quiet honesty and silent frustration, of frozen face-masks and stark raving mad minds. Finland is a land of deep shadows and brilliant highlights, a land of deep melancholy and quiet rationality; it is a land I was born in, that I live in, and that I dearly love, though it has plenty of dark parts and things I don’t like.
Yes, it is a land of great natural beauty, though that beauty comes with a cost, and the people are tech-savvy, investment-friendly and highly educated, and the laws are about as just as any, but a postcard picture of the wilderness and an image of a dutiful worker aren’t all Finland is. A picture of Finland with all the too dark, too bizarre or too unmarketable bits cut out will be a small picture: a neutered, lukewarm half-lie.
And it will of course be sold with a meaningless slogan like “Finland! Good times!”, because the safest way to lie is to let the listener infer the untruth from your carefully positioned bit-truths and irrelevancies. Don’t forget that a brand was originally a red-hot iron used to singe a mark on a living being so one wouldn’t have to think what or whose it was. This brand won’t be any different.
Rant over; move on, move on.
* * *
More good suggestions for a slogan for Finland —
“Finland — where the man meets the axe”
“Finland — you’re not going blind; it’s just the polar night”
“Finland — you’ll never hear an unkind word (or any word at all)”
“Finland — the moose are harmless”
“Finland — at least it’s better than Denmark”
“Finland — our folk hero is a bearded old womanizing bard; f—k King Arthur!”
“Finland — soon we’ll communicate solely by mobile and Messenger”
“Finland — the language’s a monster, but the people are cuddly”
“Finland — a hot room, a bunch of naked sweating hairy men, and you — sounds good?”
“Finland — hysteria won’t help so shut up”
“Finland — keeping the Russians alert ever since 1917″
“Finland — ve talk Enklish vith perhvekt klarity ant suptle krase”
“Finland — just keep telling yourself a country this expensive must be worth it”
“Finland — of course it’s not a wolf; now come inside, quick!”
“Finland — a land of darkness and deep night“