Wednesday, March 11, 2009

V is not always for Victory

Stockmann, the department store in central Helsinki is an institution. In many ways, Stockmann is central Helsinki. I've heard stories from Russian friends that during the Cold War, Stockmann was famous in the Soviet Union, as a place reachable for a lucky few where all the luxuries of west were available. It might be apocryphal but some Finns claim that some Soviet citizens actually believed the capital of Finland was called "Stockmann". Stockmann, the biggest department store in the Nordic countries, is a very international place. All the staff members wear name tags with little flags below their names showing which languages they speak - just about everyone has the Swedish flag and the Union Jack, but Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French and German flags are also common - plus other more obscure languages. And in the shop, you'll hear a veritable babel of languages being spoken by customers - particularly in the summer tourist season. This just makes it even funnier that they managed to pick such an inadvertently amusing current window display.


The corner window of Stockmann, next to the Aleksanterinkatu tram stop, is famous as the site of the annual Christmas display - something people bring their kids to come and see. But currently it is a display for Nike - under the slogan "V is for Victory". Behind mannequins wearing classic Nike tracksuit tops, are three giant photos of some footy player wearing the same top and giving the "V for victory" sign. Or at least I suspect this is what the marketing department thought he was doing.

But unfortunately he isn't, rather Stockmann has presented the good people of Helsinki with three large photos of a young, shaven headed, man giving them the "two fingered salute", which to all Brits, Irish, Aussies and Kiwis is basically the equivalent of telling them to "fuck off".


I wish I could say I was shocked, insulted and upset - perhaps enough for Stockmann to send me a gift voucher to help me recover from my mental pain and anguish. But actually it's the funniest thing I've seen in ages, and completely made my Monday morning.


So thank you Stockmann for inadvertently brighting my day and one other thing...

4 comments:

simon said...

lol that made me chuckle. Very silly. Thanks for cheering me up :-)

Anonymous said...

It on purpose cause this is a international campaign of Nike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjDKNWzV14g

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

I found the video last night - but didn't watch to photographers comments. I don't think the double meaning is going to work outside of the UK - and I noted the front page pic on the Nike GB website is definitely V is for victory not v is for piss off. See also: http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/sportswear/en_GB/wallpaper?country=GB&lang_locale=en_GB&blog=en_GB Just one cheeky chappy at the end! :-)

Anonymous said...

http://www.hs.fi/videot/1135244250450?kategoria=Uutiset&sivu=1

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