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Visit Finland: Finnish Name Generator Goes Viral Globally

March 27, 2014 Tourist Boards No Comments Email Email

Visit Finland launched a mobile campaign in Japan in March 2014 that has been an overwhelming success in social media.

The chance to take a peek behind the meaning of Finnish words has inspired over 1.2 million people all over the world to find their Finnish names.

Visit Finland’s new Finngenerator application creates a name for the user based on Finnish nature and the Finnish national epic Kalevala. The Finngenerator, launched in Japan in mid-March 2014 without paid advertising, immediately began to spread via Twitter and Facebook. The buzz grew as popular Japanese bloggers began writing about it. Just four days after the launch, more than 100,000 Japanese had found their Finnish names.

– This small, playful application has been a very effective invitation to, the main channel for the Visit Finland. During the most recent week, there were more than 140,000 visits to our Japanese language site – growth over the previous week was an amazing 1 650 %. At the same time, immediate leaving from the site dropped by over 15 % and the number of page views grew by over half a million. TheEnglish version of the generator has been very popular too, says Mervi Holmén, Marketing Director at Visit Finland.

For example, if Conan O’Brien were to look for his Finnish name in the Finngenerator, he would be Otso Ruohola. Otso means a bear and Ruohola is a grassy place. Penelope Cruz would be Taru Koski. Taru is a Finnish woman’s name meaning a story and Koski means whitewater.

The focus of marketing for the Visit Finland shifted to Japan and China at the beginning of this year. In addition to Asia, Visit Finland also focuses its marketing efforts on Russia and Europe. In Japan, Finland is known because of Finnish brands, but awareness of Finland as a travel destination is low.

– To get started, we dove deep into the Japanese target group and culture. The Japanese are interested in the Finnish natural environment and in the Finnish language. For them it sounds both familiar and exotic. The Japanese want deeper contact with Finnish culture than is offered by traditional tourism advertising, says Brand Development Director Minna Kaitala from marketing agency SEK & GREY.

The Finngenerator campaign was planned by SEK & GREY, which belongs to SEK. SEK is part of the Salomaa Group, the largest family-owned marketing and consultancy agency in Scandinavia. The media agency was Voitto and the application was developed by Byroo. During spring 2014 the Finngenerator will also be launched in China.

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