Finns launch campaign to ’execute recession’

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Finns launch campaign to ’execute recession’
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Ocak 27, 2009 00:00

ISTANBUL - Finnish political leaders and a group of companies launched an anti-recession campaign yesterday, giving the nation of 5.2 million an official permission to "Execute the Recession."

The advertisement, signed by Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen and Social Democrat Leader Jutta Urpilainen appeared on several mainstream newspapers yesterday.

In the ad, the three political leaders call on Finnish companies to fight against the economic slowdown by continuing investing in product development, training, sales and marketing. It also calls on companies to focus their strength on fighting against the slowdown instead of laying off employees.

The ad is part of a "Do Not Feed The Recession" campaign, started in early January by several Finnish media outlets and companies. Via TV and newspaper adverts, the campaign calls on consumers not to help the economic slowdown deepen by cutting down on their consumption. The campaign also calls on managers not to lay off employees and prefer domestic products.

Jukka Kurttila, who manages the campaign at the Bob Helsinki Advertising Agency, noted the psychological reaction to the current turbulence is likely to make things worse unless directly addressed. In November, the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy estimated that some 40 percent of Finns have reduced their consumption in fear of an economic slowdown.

Psychological factor
Kurttila also noted many consumers fail to understand the effect micro-economy can have on macro-economy in times of slowdown. "Psychology is contributing notably to consumer behaviour, making things worse. We are trying to communicate that maintaining usual consumer habits helps us to ward off a deeper crisis. The participation of politicians in the campaign is a message to the public," he told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review last week.

In the beginning of January, approximately 46,000 Finns had been laid off from 4,100 firms, an increase of 10,000 since early December 2008, according to the Ministry of Labour. The number of unemployed increased by 3,000 and reached 161,000 last year.

Kurttila reminded that despite the layoffs, 2008 was a positive year for the average consumer. "The reality is that many things are actually getting better for consumers: a reduction of income tax is on the way, house prices have gone mildly down, and purchasing power is expected to go up by 4.6 percent this year, meaning that the average consumer will have more to spend than before," he said. "These are issues that we should not play down. The best way out of the current situation is to avoid typical recession behaviour," he concluded.
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