”I Miss my superfast broadband!” Comical heroes in phone operator’s TV commercial

Curator's Note

Elisa is one of the leading communications and ITC solutions companies in Finland. As I saw these commercials, my first impression was that the company was being promoted in a truly funny way, by using irony, nostalgia and also seriality typical to television. At the same time, the Finnish cultural identity was negotiated in an inspired way. Later on, I started to get irritated by the fact that there were no girl or woman characters in the commercials. A very notable absence, I think. Two comical characters (bearing a likeness to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy) appear in rather bizarre situations and locations: One scene presents a parody where they are making fun of popular films such as Rambo and Mission Impossible. In this scene they run on the streets of Helsinki. In two scenes, the blonde guy travels alone to Africa and Scotland, just to notice how much he misses his home and his communications technology there. Laconic and ironic dialog reminds me of Aki Kaurismäki’s films. In a way, they are making fun of homesickness, and therefore also the feeling of belongingness. IT technology is one of the strengths of the Finnish industry and economy. These commercials try to make it seem hip and cool. There is just one problem: by letting the male characters rule the representations of technology and its use, these commercials have engaged in a very old idea of national citizenship, one that only includes men.

Comments

Mari Pajala's picture

Interesting piece, Sari. I

Interesting piece, Sari. I have to admit I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that the two characters in the series of advertisements only interact with other men. It looks like men are still seen as more suited to represent “ordinary Finnishness” (and other national stereotypes) and to travel the world. How would the commercials work if it were women doing the travelling?

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