“Mum, would you PLEASE change your ring tone? That Nokia tune is so embarrassing!”

Funny thing about being abroad is hearing the Nokia tune a lot. You know, this one.

If you didn’t know, Nokia comes from Finland. NOT from Japan. In Finland Nokia used to be more famous of its rubber goods than of its technology branch.  Almost every Finn has possessed a pair of Nokia’s rubber boots at some phase of his/her life. Nokia’s car and bike tires are still very popular.

After 1990’s Finns have practically stopped using Nokia tune as ring tone. So the fact that abroad you hear the tune quite often feels weird and some way nostalgic. Even so as also the young and trendy people have Nokia tune as their mobile phone ring tone. Because in Finland it’s considered as something totally not cool. Something your parents used to have when they got their first mobile phone in 1990’s and didn’t know how to use the settings to change the ring tone. And of course your parents were (and sometimes still are) fully ignorant that it was the most embarrassing thing possible.  So having a Nokia tune implied that you weren’t fully able to cope with modern technology.

Nokia phones have Nokia tune as default setting, so if you don’t change it you’ll just go around sounding like a Nokia commercial. That might also be a reason why Nokia tune has become so lame: it’s was so overused in the commercials that people got fed up with it.

So free advise for you who would like to give a cool impression in Finland: Avoid the  Nokia tune ring tone unless you want to make association to something like this Nokia commercial from 1990’s.

Extra treat for Finns (this is such a cultural thing a foreigner — or a younger generation of Finns — might not get it):

Nokia tune ring tone used to be known also under the name “Mäkitorppa” according a company selling the Nokia products and doing a lot advertising. The company then merged to another company, named Elisa –  “Elisa” does sound much less hillbilly (“juntti”) than “Mäkitorppa”, doesn’t it? Normally I’m against Finnish companies changing the name into something “more international” in order to make it sell better and be “more understandable for foreigners” (the notorious case of the national post chaning it’s name: “Posti” -> “Itella” ).

I was thinking about the association “Mäkitorppa” makes as a word: mäki = hill, torppa = in old times a small cottage for poor farmers renting the lands they cultivate. So no wonder “Elisa” sounds nicer. But Mäkitorppa still has a huge nostalgic value….at least for my generation.