Finland: Ministry launches 'tongue-in-cheek' emojis

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

Image source, Bruno Leo Ribeiro/Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Image caption,
The Nokia 3310 emoji is called "unbreakable" in honour of the phone's reputation for sturdiness

Finland's foreign ministry has launched a set of official emojis, and a once-ubiquitous Nokia handset is among them.

More than 30 icons will be available for people to download, representing "important things associated with Finland", the ministry says. The first three to be unveiled depict a man and woman enjoying a sauna, a Nokia 3310 - beloved by many who remember the pre-smartphone era - and a headbanger, reflecting Finns' affection for hard rock. "The Finland emojis were designed with a tongue-in-cheek approach," says Director of Public Diplomacy Petra Theman. "But I hope they will tell the world not only about our special features, but also something about our strengths. One example is disarming honesty."

Designed in conjunction with a marketing agency, the emojis will also feature in an online advent calendar available in 13 languages - including Chinese, Arabic and Hindi. The ministry says Finland is the first country in the world to launch its own emojis.

The Ilta-Sanomat newspaper has asked readers to vote on whether they like the designs or not, and so far people seem happy - of more than 4,400 votes, 75% approve. But those who took the time to comment were more sceptical. One person describes the heavy metal association as "so cheesy" and another points out that saunas could also represent Finland's neighbouring countries. "Let's spread Finnish stereotypes around the internet," one person says dryly. There are also some suggestions for what should feature among the remaining emojis - from the simple idea of a Finnish flag, to a bottle of vodka.

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