Have you had your Finnish tablet today?

SURROUNDED by hoards of diverse and varied advertising campaigns vying for public attention, we can easily find ourselves falling into the consumerist black hole of today. There is no escape; ads are every which way we turn and, avoid as we might to being sucked into ad campaigns, every once in a while there comes a product that hooks us in and makes us beg for more. Finnexia’s mysterious marketing campaign has been steeped in much speculation around Helsinki lately, even being a popular social networking topic, causing a riot of confusion and doubt.

So, if you’ve been handed a flyer, seen the website, or been witness to the marketing stunt in the west wing of the train station in September, you will know all about Finnexia – the so-called super drug that will help you learn Finnish. Advertised as the first of its kind, this 40 mg linguocitine tablet lowers anxiety, enhances cognitive activity in the brain, and acts as speech therapy that will have you speaking Finnish in no time. Also apparently available without prescription, and specific to a Finno-Ugric language deficiency, it will appeal to anyone wanting or needing to learn Finnish fast.

A tablet that gives you the power to speak Finnish – surely this can’t be for real, right?.....Right! This clever marketing strategy has succeeded in drawing the attention it needs to aid the doctoral research of Lisa Erdman in the art department at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Leading up to the marketing installations back in September, which were actually ‘performances’ run by actors, the hook of Finnexia was fabricated to encourage dialogue for members of the passing immigrant public about cultural integration in Finland and the role that language has to play in this process.

Also sparking more intrigue and speculation about Finnexia, the performances contributed to another arm of this research: the artistic context supporting the phantom drug is also concerned with exploring the over medicated society in which we live and the obsessive reliability of this pill-popping culture. Satirising the seeming need to medicate every human condition under the sun, Finnexia aims to brings together the medical, language and cultural integration strands of this research project, while also challenging people’s perception and blurring the lines between truth and fiction.

So, sorry – I’m afraid the wait for the Finnish-language wonder drug continues.

Visit the shrewdly staged website: www.finnexia.fi

Beth Morton