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30 May 2024

Vampire piggy bank urges Finns to spend amid recession fears

A provocative advertising campaign featuring a piggy bank with vampire fangs is urging Finns to continue spending despite fears of a recession and daily news of lay-offs and job cuts.

"The campaign does not encourage Finns to increase spending, but to continue spending as usual if possible," Jukka Kurttila, chairman of the marketing agency Bob Helsinki behind the campaign, said on Wednesday.

"For 90 per cent of Finns, there is no need to reduce expenditure."

On posters plastered around the Finnish capital, a pink piggy bank has a stern gaze and drops of blood dripping from its vampire fangs, with slogans such as "Don't feed depression by saving" or "Saving is not always a good thing."

And in a short film, excerpts of which are running as televised ads, "economic depression" is portrayed as a pet requiring attention and sacrifices in order to grow. When the family buys a new hybrid car and pizzas, the depression dies.

Kurttila explained he hatched the idea for the campaign after reading about a survey by Etla research institute last October which showed that 39 per cent of Finns had reduced their consumption even though the economy was still doing all right.

"It has a significant impact on the Finnish economy if 40 per cent of people decide to save money," he said.

Others have been equally worried about Finns' eagerness to save.

In addition to economic research institutes Etla and Palkansaajien Tutkimuslaitos, daily newspapers Helsingin Sanomat and Kauppalehti and department store chain Stockmann have flocked to join the campaign.

The global financial crisis has dented Finnish companies' demand and firms such as paper maker Stora Enso, engineering firm Metso and tyre maker Nokian Tyres have announced massive job cuts.

"On no account are we saying that if you are in the lay-off process, you should continue spending as usual. In those circumstances I would decrease consumption too," Kurttila noted.

"We're calling on people to think rationally about their approach to recession," he said.