January 27, 2012
Latvia’s official Facebook page, featuring video of a folksy white-haired man tossing logs into a stove, has been unveiled by the Latvian Institute, the government’s information and public relations agency.
The page invites Facebook visitors to “like” Latvia with the slogan, “If you like Latvia, Latvia likes you.” Whenever someone adds their support for the page, the man in the video—a baker played by actor Kaspars Pūce—thanks the visitor. The goal is to get 100,000 followers by the end of the year, according to the Latvian Institute’s Jan. 27 announcement.
The page, with the rather long address of www.facebook.com/IfYouLikeLatviaLatviaLikesYou, was designed by advertising agency Leo Burnett Riga after a competition to find the best solution for the country’s Facebook presence.
“Latvia’s official Facebook page is a unique opportunity to creatively, innovatively and attractively communicate to the world about Latvia,” Karina Pētersone, director of the Latvian Institute, said in the press release. “It allows us to boast about the country’s success stories, unique events in social and political life, innovative businesses, and events in the areas of culture and sports.”
For now the site does not have much material other than the “Grand opening” video and a “Latvian anatomy” section, which offers readers a look at Latvians in relation to other cultures. In that section, readers learn that, “Just like our hair, the Russians have always been beside us—sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes tame and easy to comb, sometimes tousled and uncontrollable as the hair of a rebellious rock ‘n’ roll teenager.” Germans, Swedes, Finns, the British and other nationalities are also mentioned.
The Facebook site will feature contests and other attractions, according to the press release. The “Grand Opening” page includes a questionnaire. Those who complete it will have their names entered into a raffle to win one of 300 loaves of Latvian bread, shipped anywhere in the world.
By the end of the Jan. 27 workday in Latvia, almost 4,000 visitors had “liked” the Facebook page.
Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000-2012 he was editor of the website.
Actor Kaspars Pūce portrays the baker who greets visitors to Latvia’s official Facebook page. (Photo courtesy of the Latvian Institute)