Elovena oat girl loses her traditional dress in modern makeover

File picture of new Elovena girl, January 2020 / Credit: Raisio

The Elovena oat girl, a symbol of the brand for 95 years, is getting a makeover.

The imagery is familiar to every Finn: a young girl in traditional national costume, with a sheaf of oats in her arms.

But from February onwards the Elovena girl will be changing – her colourful traditional dress replaced with a plan blue dress. Her headscarf gone, bodice, apron, white stockings and black shoes gone too.

It’s part of a new marketing strategy by Elovena’s parent company Raisio, to promote the brand in overseas markets.

‘We based the renewal of our iconic national brand on three consumer studies conducted in Finland and abroad, for example, in Poland and Sweden” explains Mikko Lindqvist, Raisio’s Marketing Director.

“More than 4,000 consumers participated in the studies, and the new Elovena design was rated highly by the participants. Consumers perceived the Elovena girl in her blue dress as a strong symbol of Finnish origin, reliability, naturalness and contemporariness” he adds.

Raisio’s oat products have been available in international markets for more than 20 years, but under different brand names. Now they will be combined into one brand identity – Elovena – with the new updated Elovena girl.

“We believe that Elovena’s strong connection with natural healthiness and its Finnish origin will work well, also on the international level” says Raisio Marketing Manager Jennifer Krook.

Reaction online is mostly negative

There’s already been a lot of reaction online to the marketing move by Raisio – and much of it negative.

“Very bad decision. Are you ashamed of Elovena’s Vyborg roots or why do you want to remove references to Finnishness from the pack? Wouldn’t you rather be proud of your roots and emphasize them?” writes Twitter user Leena Rintala.

“Why is Raisio downplaying its iconic visual appearance?” asks Annamari Vänskä, a Professor of Fashion Research at Aalto University. 

It has an emotional and nostalgic meaning to consumers: the image brings to mind memories that are missing from the new package. The supply of oatmeal is plentiful and it is your history that you are now losing ground” she says. 

File picture of traditional Elovena girl oat brand / Credit: News Now Finland