The Players: Per-Arne Tuftin, a tourist official from Norway who isn't sold on the Finnish Northern Lights; Mervi Holmén, who works for the Finnish Tourism Board and hopes to bank off of their Northern Lights-gone-viral marketing success
The Opening Serve: It all started with this video.
In September, Visit Finland posted a clip on YouTube touting their view of the Northern Lights. Around 400,000 people have noticed. One of those was Per-Arne Tuftin, who works for Innovation Norway, a state-owned tourism company. "We can not stand by and watch the Finns try to grab a bigger share [of the Northern Lights]" said Per-Arne Tuftin to the local paper Nordllys. "We will not give up -- the northern lights will be ours. Through the northern campaigns such as this continues we will work to establish Norway as the best country in the world to experience this amazing natural phenomenon." Der Spiegel notes that in 2009, Tuftin's company tried to brand the Northern Lights as a Norwegian phenomenon.
The Return Volley: The Finnish Tourism Board is unimpressed. "The reaction suggests alarm and emotion," said Mervi Holmén. Holmén told the Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat that there will be more Finnish marketing of the Northern Lights in the near future. Der Spiegel adds, "The Finns readily admit that the aurora is often more easily seen in Norway" and that the "resentment on the Norwegian side is also fueled by the fact that the Finns have already tried to claim Father Christmas for themselves, establishing a 'Santa Claus Village.'" Helsingin Sanomat sarcastically quipped, "Perhaps the midnight sun could also be hijacked from the Norwegians ... Then again, the Norwegians could of course fight back with the ultimate weapon of mass distraction - taking Santa Claus hostage."