11 results found for “iceland”

A Delightful Little Weirdo

Bonus Pig lovers, unite

After penning my recent tribute to the original Bonus Pig, I located the company’s blog post explaining the change, which apparently took place in mid-November 2021. That post is in Icelandic, and the Google translation is not stellar:

The Bónus brand has today been renewed and transformed into a modern costume with the well-known pig. Why is it okay to tamper with what might be right? Of course, the pig has been unchanged for over 30 years and is now being raised for the first time. This change is made to adapt the brand to the digital journey ahead in our business.

A contemporaneous article from Iceland Review that was written in English is more useful:

Remarking on the controversial mascot transformation, [Bónus CEO Guðmundur Marteinsson] said, “We’ve just streamlined him a little—it isn’t that big a change. We took out one or two lines that it’s always looked like we forgot to erase when he was initially designed,” he continued, pointing to a crinkle on the Bónus pig’s nose and an extra line on his back.

More dramatic, however, is the adjustment of the pig’s left eye. “He was always a bit cockeyed,” Guðmundur said. “But as I see it, this is part of our evolution.”

At least some of the fine citizens of Iceland were as dismayed as I was. From that same Iceland Review piece:

“Long live the Bónus pig!” proclaimed Rex Beckett on Facebook, screen-capping the messages she sent directly to the company. “I just wanted to say that I am extremely sad about the decision to change the Bónus Piggy’s look,” she wrote. “He was a delightful little weirdo with such a fun personality and his wonky eye made everyone happy.”

Amen. Alas, it seems unlikely that Bónus will see the light, but the original Bonus Pig can live on in our hearts.

It can also live on in song. Please enjoy the two-line musical riff I came up with while driving along Iceland’s Ring Road back in 2016. It should be sung to the tune of the chorus of Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian”, which was playing on the radio at the time:

🎶 Bonus Piiiig
What’s your price for havingawonkeye? 🎶

If you can come up with additional lyrics, do send them along.

The Wonkeyed Bonus Pig Shall Not Be Forgotten

Look how they massacred my pig.

Over in Iceland, there’s a supermarket chain called Bónus.1 When I visited the Nordic nation six years ago, I became very fond of the company’s logo, which I call the Bonus Pig. It’s a piggy bank (for savings!), and it’s so round that it often takes the place of the letter “O” in their name.2 Feast your eyes upon the Bonus Pig:

If you’re thinking “That looks rather silly”, you’re not wrong. It is silly, and that is what makes it great. But my friend, this little piglet used to be so, so much sillier. Please, click the play button below to morph the Bonus Pig back to its former glory:

Just look at that incredible wonkeye. It is the epitome of glorious imperfection. From the moment I happened upon the Bonus Pig in 2016, I was smitten. I shared it on Instagram:

[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

For quite some time, I also re-used one of their plastic bags:

[Photo courtesy of S. Hiraiwa]

Can you believe this was the logo of the largest supermarket chain in an entire country? It’s amazing. Here it is on one of their storefronts:

The little piggy who owned a market also flew on flags:

A few months ago I even received a Bonus Pig shirt as a gift.3 I wear it proudly and wonkeyedily:

Please insert your own pig snort sound.

Alas, the original Bonus Pig was sanitized in the past year or so. Some swine, no doubt thinking that they could “fix” the Bonus Pig, went and gave the little dude corrective eye surgery. Just as when the execrable SAP Concur killed off Hipmunk, joy has once again been sucked from the world. It is a travesty. This is not my beautiful pig:

Before too many days go by, I hope the designer in question says to themselves “My God, what have I done?”, and sets to work undoing this regrettable change.

For now though, my wonkeyed little friend can still be spotted in various places around Bónus’s website. If and when it eventually disappears completely from there, this page will remain as a memorial to what was lost.


  1. Apparently, they’ve also got eight stores in the Faroe Islands. ↩︎

  2. Technically, it’s the letter “Ó”, but I’m not really down with diphthongs. I’m going with a standard “o” in this post, and in my life. ↩︎

  3. This shirt is a knockoff, so it’s particularly amusing that they kept the registered trademark ®. ↩︎

Outhorse Your Email

I see a lot of auto-replies in my work, and this is one of the best.

Long time readers know that if you want your Instagram feed to look fresh as hell, you should get yourself to Iceland. But what about all that work you need to do back at the office? Fortunately, Iceland’s tourism bureau has created a helpful new service to assist you: Outhorse Your Email.

With it, you can “disconnect from work and let the horses of Iceland reply to your emails while you are on vacation”. Their website shows three different horses, each with their own skillset.1 To test it out, I chose “Hekla frá Þorkellshóli”, both because they’re “trained in corporate buzzwords” and also because they stuck out their tongue in their official photo:

Hekla is embracing the glorious imperfection.

Here’s a sample message provided by Hekla:

Bilbo McWorkerstein is away on vacation and not able to respond to your email. Meanwhile, Bilbo has OutHorsed all emails to an Icelandic horse called Hekla frá Þorkellshóli, who is trained in corporate communications.

Here is Hekla frá Þorkellshóli’s response:

Aælkj5hbyiu89 n89u ð´’i2+ji hð9 u3boæjrk2 n 9089ui qeægj eronbqo ð gnjqergni8h aq fear i

Qfiuoq4uhhæ 34 4 4 ædoifuuuuuuuuua q34o

This email was composed by an Icelandic horse using a giant keyboard for horses. Seriously.

OutHorse your email at: http://www.outhorseyouremail.com

Bilbo will return to work on July 1, 2022.

Now some of you might be thinking that Hekla’s reply was unintelligible, perhaps even meaningless. I can only advise that you hide your ignorance! After all, this is the name of a town in Iceland:

Who even knew an accented “y” character existed?

Far from being gibberish, that response is written in perfect Icelandic business prose, which these horses have clearly mastered.


  1. The key video from the OutHorseYourEmail website is archived here. ↩︎

Engaging With Brands, October 28th Edition

The Regent Theatre has an impressive neon sign, as well as someone with a sense of humor handling their Instagram account. Back in August, I posted this photo to Instagram:

Image showing a toilet seat in one corner, with a basic dining room table chair in another corner, facing the toilet

Several friends of mine left amusing comments, as you can see:

My caption read: For pooping with an audience. Scott Simpson commented 'My therapist's office'. Susie Schutt said 'All the worlds a stage'. Ryan Bateman said 'That's where your personal trainer sits.'

However, it wasn’t until about a month later that a new comment appeared:

Regent Theatre said 'Ha! Face-with-tears-of-joy emoji

Yes, the theatre’s own Instagram account replied to my literal bathroom humor. It was truly a proud day for all involved.

Next up, I flew to Iceland. On my way back, I noted that of course the plane was playing music from Icelandic weirdo Björk. Guess who liked the tweet?

Tweet reading: As is legally mandated, this IcelandAir flight is playing Björk.

As is my usual practice, I omitted an actual Twitter mention of @IcelandAir, in the hopes of avoiding unnecessary brand engagement. It’s clear that like KFC, IcelandAir is creepily searching their own name. However, they were kind enough to simply like the tweet, rather than replying. Good on you, Icelandair! This is the kind of quiet engagement I can get behind.

Not all brands are so polite, however. Recently, I saw a fantastic ad using the classic Nintendo game Tecmo Super Bowl.1

Man this was a good game.

The sounds alone brought back many memories, and I felt compelled to tweet about it. Of course, I also took the opportunity for a cheap shot at Kia:

Tweet reading: I just saw a Tecmo Bowl-based car ad (featuring Bo Jackson, no less), and I'm suddenly willing to entertain the idea of owning a Kia.

Unfortunately for me, Kia is also a creepy vanity searcher, and they tweeted at me:

Just saw your tweet. We're down to help you entertain that. Let's start here: http://www.kia.com/sorento . Also: http://bit.ly/2e509hp.

Here’s a tip for brands: Even if I liked your ad, it’s probably best to simply ignore me when I’ve just mocked your actual product.

That’s all for today, but I’ve little doubt that there will be more engaging with brands in the future.

Previously in Engaging With Brands: Instagram’s Raison D’Être


  1. Archived here. ↩︎

Iceland Airwaves Is Apparently NOT the Onboard Music Station for IcelandAir

I recently visited Iceland for the first time, and my Instagram is looking fresh as hell1. My inbox, however, is not looking quite so gorgeous. That’s due to an email I received from IcelandAir, the airline that transported me across the Atlantic. With the apparent hope that I’ll fly with them again, they sent me this:

Six Questions for This Email From IcelandAir

  • Is Björk wearing Nickelodeon™ Floam® on her face?

  • You remember Floam, right?

  • Hang on, is Björk wearing a garbage bag on her head?

  • Those aren’t earrings, are they? They’re totally the drawstrings on a goddamned garbage bag!

  • Who books travel based on a marketing email received from an airline?

  • Is the answer to the previous question “Björk fans”?

In closing, “Björk” is a funny word.


  1. Here’s a small sample:









    In a word, Iceland is stunning.↩︎

More Holiday Weirdness From Smithsonian Mag 

I have a vague recollection of hearing of the “Caganer” at some point in my life. If you haven’t, here’s a simple explanation:

The Caganer translates to something like “The Crapper” and he is usually found tucked away in the corner of the manger scene taking care of business. Traditionally, the Caganer is depicted as wearing a traditional Catalonian red cap and white peasant shirt, although figures modeled to look like celebrities, politicians, and even the Pope are also popular, Reuters reports.

One possible explanation for this really slays me:

“It was the only thing the little shepherd boy had to give the Baby Jesus,” Nancy Duneuve told Rainsford. “So it’s not at all disrespectful, it’s a great gift.”

They do say that best gifts are the ones you make yourself. Anyhow, while the Caganer rings a faint bell, I’ve definitely never heard of the “Tió de Nadal”. That’s even wackier!

Previously in Crazy Christmas Traditions: Merry Christmas, Icelandic Weirdos

Merry Christmas, Icelandic Weirdos 

Iceland’s Christmas features a rather incredible cast of characters, like “Spoon Licker” and “Door Slammer”.

Bad Ads: Logic? Whatever.

Last month, I linked to a piece describing Budweiser’s Hypocrisy. Today, I’ve got a Bud Light ad in my crosshairs. The brand has been focused on the concept of being “up for whatever”, showcasing things like life-sized Pac-Man and ping-pong against Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside their beer. These ads doesn’t make me want a Bud Light, but they aren’t terrible, which is frankly some of the highest praise I can give a commercial.

However, the 15 second version of a recent Bud Light ad for their “Whatever, USA” campaign contains these words1:

  • This once-in-a-lifetime town is happening again.

I just…I mean…it’s right there. They didn’t call it “once-in-a-lifetime” and then thirty seconds later said it was “happening again”. That would be stupid enough, but here, they put it in the same breath! Is this town built for people who were alive for the first version last year, but are dead now? Or perhaps it’s for babies born since the last iteration?

Look, I think I’m a relatively carefree kind of guy. I can be up for most things, and I strive to say “Yes” to new experiences. If you want to run a marathon dressed as the Village People (did it) or take a one-day trip to Iceland (almost did it), I’m in. But I draw the line at logically invalid sentences. I am not up for that.


  1. As usual, the video is archived here. ↩︎

Headline Review: August 31st, 2012 Edition

It’s time for another look at headlines, and we’ve got some doozies today.

First up, news from the tennis world:

Roger Federer’s Backhanded Complimenting Is in Peak Form

All those years of practice and training are finally paying off!

Next up, a story related to an earlier feature on ram groping:

Iceland’s Best Ram Gropers Awarded with Semen

This raises the obvious question: What exactly do the worst ram gropers get?

Speaking of disgusting semen, there’s this:

Shia LaBeouf: I’ll Have Sex for Real in ‘Nymphomaniac’


You likely need a chaser for that one, so try this one for size:

Thief Who Broke Into Steve Jobs House Gave Stolen iPad to Clown

Now that’s how you write a headline!

Ram Groping for Fun and Profit

Normally, it’s nice to be thought of. Sometimes, however, you’re thought of when someone reads about an Icelandic Ram Groping contest. Or at least, I am, which brings us to the aforementioned ram groping.

Though Iceland is a nation of just over 300,000 people, they’ve clearly got no shortage of strangeness. One manifestation of this comes in an annual event where contestants evaluate and rank rams for their breeding ability. Amateurs judge with their hands, using them to grope on the rams’ genitals. By gazing into the rams’ eyes and judging their bleats, the amateurs seek to match the ratings a team of consultants has come up with using the latest technology.1

This year, a seven-year-old won the contest. In 2011, a three-year-old won.2 In most countries, a small child caught groping livestock would be punished. In Iceland, he gets a trophy. Also among the prizes is sperm from the Insemination Center of West Iceland, which is reportedly appreciated by the sheep farmers. It’s less clear what the young tots are doing with it, however.

According to the Iceland Review, some contestants aren’t satisfied with the strangeness of simply winning. At least one winner took things to a whole new level:

“One year a contestant was able to rank the rams correctly and described them all in a poem. That was very interesting,”

Yes – that’s when it got interesting.

Ultimately, when the event is all over and the winner’s are crowned, everyone gathers at the Hólmavík community center. There, they dance the night away at a “Gropers’ Ball”. Yes, really.


  1. Whatever the hell that may be. ↩︎

  2. The boy’s mother apparently assisted him by writing down his answers. ↩︎