Saturday, September 20, 2008

What's The Motto With Sweden?

You know why more people don't go to Sweden? If you're asking the Swedes (and who better to ask, really?) you'd get the impression it's because the slogans for the towns aren't catchy enough. Not enough pizazz. Not enough bada-bing in thieir bada-bang. Zipless. So they decided to try to remedy that and come up with some catchy mottos. The end result? Well, let's just say I'm thinking about moving to Sweden and opening shop as a snazzy slogan-catchy motto writer because they sure do make a lot of cash for, um, not a lot of work (translation: crap), it would seem.

Take the town of Gavle, a lovely coastal area two hours north of Stocklholm, according to my favorite Swedish news source in English, The Local. Now just because it's all lovely and coastal doesn't mean that the residents are rocket scientists. That's evident by the fact that the town "paid 221,000 kronor ($33,000) for the phrase "Välkommen ombord” (‘Welcome aboard’)." (What are they? The Love Boat? Is Gavin MacLeod the mayor? Where's Gopher?)

And I wasn't the only one who thought it was ridiculous. Lots of Gavle dwellers said it was "dopey and social democratic." (I'm not sure about the "social democratic" part, but it doesn't sound as if it's complimentary.) "Welcome aboard what?” was the question asked by Gävle resident Rolf Lassgård, who also mentioned, "It seems like it would have been better to use the money to buy a boat first." Sensible man, that Rolf.

Too bad the public administrators over there in Gotland weren't as sensible as Rolf. If they were, they likely would not have "shelled out a whopping 5 million kronor for “Det magiska Gotland” (‘Magical Gotland’)." OK, let's see...if 221,000 kronor is $33,000 then 5 million kronor is...carry the one...add the 7...holy crap, that's about $746,560!! For "Magical Gotland"? That's it?! Oh, wait. Of course that's not it. Silly. No, they also got the tagline “Kreativitet, livslust, närhet, livskraft, och magiskt” (‘Creativity, vibrancy, closeness, vitality, and magic’). Huh. OK, I'm back to holy crap!

Does it get worse? Of course it does. I'm sure Sweden is a lovely place, but aside from Rolf, the Swedes aren't exactly coming across as the sharpest tools in the shed. Over in Fagersta (pretty), they ended up with their official slogan being “Här får du livstid” (‘Here you’ll have time for living’). And something like that can be interpreted in Swedish to mean that you’ve been given a lifetime prison sentence. See, now something like that is really going to be a deal breaker the majority of the time I would think. Unfortunate.

Now, the ice cream Haagen Dazs is actually a made up name. It doesn't mean squat. Apparently, the Swedish municipality of Malå’s decided to go that route when they came up with their slogan, “He som hänn he hänn hänna”. Those ‘words’ are not even in the Swedish dictionary. And if you roughly translate it (read: butcher it) into English, you come up with "Whatever happens, happens here." Wow. How exciting. Sounds kind of like "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Yeah, but considering the town only has 3,000 people, it's hard to imagine that "whatever happens" there is all that great. It's also hard to believe that it wouldn't involve some sort of cow or goat or some other type of livestock usually seen trailing behind yodelers.

Some towns appear to let their anal retentiveness shine through with overly inclusive slogans such as Stenungsund's "Det goda kustnära samhället med framtidstro och utveckling” (‘The pleasant coastal community with belief in the future and development.’) Most coastal communities in the States don't want development. Maybe the Swedes are different, but this doesn't seem like it's normal. Then again, if you're looking for normal, don't hit up Malung. They decided to go with "41 kvadratkilometer med utveckling" (‘41 square kilometres with development’)." Yeah, that's not normal on any continent.

If you're looking for the humbled Swedish town, perhaps stop by Vingåker. Their slogan is, “En promille kan inte ha fel!” (‘One in every thousand can't be wrong’) I like it when the bar isn't set too high, you know? One in every thousand? So, one tenth of one percent can't be wrong? OK, that might be too low, even for my standards.

But Trosa definitely meets my standards with the motto “Världens ände”. In Swedish, that can mean two things; either “the end of the world” or “the world’s rear end”. It's as if Sweden has it's own form of "Canada, America's Hat"! I like it! And what I like even more is that the word ‘trosa’ in Swedish is also the singular form of the word for "panties". Nice job!

I can come up with crappy slogans like these for a hell of a lot less money (but still a hell of a lot of money) than these Swedes paid for what they got. Except for the Trosa folks. They seem to have received their money's worth for their slogan. From now on, they will be known to many (or just me) as Trosa, Sweden's panties.

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