Finnish Ad Watchdog Says Atheist Bus Campaign Is Not Inappropriate September 17, 2009

Finnish Ad Watchdog Says Atheist Bus Campaign Is Not Inappropriate

Do you see anything offensive about this ad?


Me neither.

It’s the poster for the Finland Atheist Bus Campaign — the sign translates to “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”

It went up several months ago, and there were (surprise!) several complaints from religious people.

Yesterday, however, the Council of Ethics in Advertising (a Finnish advertising watchdog) made this statement:

Finland’s Council of Ethics in Advertising, a self-regulatory body that is part of the Central Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday it did not consider the atheist bus campaign inappropriate.

“A campaign cannot be considered to be generally offensive just because individual religious people may feel it is,” said Paula Paloranta, the secretary of the Council of Ethics in Advertising.

It’s amazing these statements have to be made in the first place, but it’s nice that the group is making them.

Finnish atheists should take it as a green light to keep these ads going.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Reginald Selkirk

    Do you see anything offensive about this ad?

    Yes. That last word has umlaut overload.

  • mikespeir

    Do you see anything offensive about this ad?

    Except that they’re obviously cussin’ at us? No.

    Those are dieresiseseses, Reginald! (Just messing with you.)

  • cypressgreen

    I find it offensive that it’s NOT in ENGLISH. How dare they make it hard for ME to read??!!

  • geru

    You think “elämästä” has an umlaut overload?

    How about these: “jääräpää” or “päämäärä”, the first means “stubborn” and the second “destination” 🙂

    Finnish also has nice declensions, like “jääräpäisyydellänsäkään”, which means about “even with his stubbornness” ^^

    Kinda seems like some weird Indian language when you explain it. 🙂

  • mai

    Wow, we got something right! Yay for alphabet soup gone crazy!

    This decision is certainly welcome after the news about some bus drivers that refused to drive the bus with that ad on it.

  • Arctic Ape

    I hate the lack of imagination with which this (originally British) slogan was chosen. You could neatly say: “Elämä voi olla uskomatonta”, with the double meaning of “(Your) life can be wonderful/non-believing”.

    I suppose that wouldn’t have been offensive enough.

  • geru

    I found it a bit comical that some drivers complained that the buses were an “violation of UN statutes of freedom of religion” etc.

    What statute was this exactly? The one that says everyone should be free not to drive a bus that has stickers on it that the person deems offensive?

    I guess they mixed things up, and were actually thinking of the UN Statute of “Freedom of driving a bus with non-offensive stickers”. 😀

  • I think this is a great triumph considering Finland was in the news recently for prosecuting a man under outdated blasphemy laws. Way to go Finland! Moving in the right direction.

  • Anomuumi

    Hope there is a chance to get these adds on buses also in the city of Tampere, where the ads were banned by the local bus company.

    About the wonders of the Finnish language… I leave you puzzled with this nice bit of dialogue:
    “Älä rääkkää kääkkää!”
    “Emmä rääkkääkään kääkkääkään!”

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