Is it time for an image make-over? Iceland is putting its name on the line. (Photo: Courtesy of Visit Iceland)
Greenland? Iceland? Or Vikingsland?
The island of ice is casting off its dreary name and searching for a new one in a PR campaign aimed at finding the right title for Iceland. And, hundreds of Icelanders (and Iceland fans) have heeded the call.
Suggestions so far have ranged from the whimsical Rainbow’sEndLand to the literal Freeze-Your-$#%-Off-Land.
So what's the big prize – other than bragging rights? A piece of the island you’re naming.“At the end of the campaign, the contributor of the overall best name and description will be given a piece of land and an Icleandic honorary title,” said PR spokesperson Nathan Woodhead. There will also be other prizes, like trips, guest blogging spots, and event tickets.
Legend goes that early Norwegian explorers called it Iceland to ward off the Spanish and lure them instead to the harsh and misleadingly named Greenland. It’s along that same vein that one Icelander is suggesting a name encouraging people to keep out: Stormland, FrozenHellLand or EndoftheWorldLand.
In fact, Iceland was once called Snæland (Snowland) and Garðarshólmi, named for Garðar Svavarsson, the first Swedish man to live in Iceland, though he is rumored to have only stayed one winter and then named it after himself. It wasn’t until a Norwegian Viking, Hrafna-Flóki, also known as Raven-Flóki, discovered the island that Iceland came by its current name. Upon spotting a fjord filled with ice, Flóki was struck by a burst of creativity and named the island for the ice he saw.
Now, though, Iceland is trying to shed its forbidding image and embracing names like the current frontrunner: Landofendlessskyland.
The new naming contest, part of the" Inspired by Iceland" tourism campaign, was spurred by a question on Facebook and Twitter that prompted hundreds of answers. The question was simply: What would you name Iceland if this was your first glimpse? _ _ _ _ Land?
Along with a new naming page on the Inspired by Island website, which will feature the most popular contributions and which allows you to create postcards with your new country name, you can also visit the naming booth at Keflavik airport to make suggestions.
Nothingscaresusland? Don’tforgetyoursweaterland? Fermentedfishland? Or, perhaps if the stereotypes of Reykjavik are accurate, Undergroundmusicandlotsofhipstersland?
There will be themes in the coming months asking for names around topics like food, design, and music. Notable Icelanders in each of those industries will pick their favorites, who will then become PR ambassadors and be featured in marketing materials. Some suggestions – like Landofendlessskyland – and the people who came up with them are already being featured in ads for the not-as-icy-as-it-sounds Iceland.
Many of the postcards featured on the naming website showcase picturesque landscapes with names like Auroraland, Colorland (or, Instagramistan), and Catchacloudland.
Known for its stoic and isolated people, though, Iceland is not completely embracing the idea of changing its name – even if it’s just in fun. Two of the postcards also have some pointed suggestions: Don’trenamemyland and, simply, Neiland (Nei is Icelandic for no).
Iceland certainly has its share of majestic landscapes, quaint towns nestled in rolling hills, adventure sports – it is the home of decades’ worth of the World’s Strongest Man champions (How-far-can-you-pull-a-semi-truck-Land?) – and, of course, the Northern Lights. But, one tongue-in-cheek answer probably hit the nail on the head: Trying-to-attract-more-tourists-because-of-the-bad-economy-land.
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