The lush green grasslands of…Iceland?

This is a great example of the power of a great brand.

I think the truly great brands make you turn off your brain. You see the brand and you surrender to it and what it means. Because you know it won’t let you down.

I can scarcely conceive of ever having a bad experience with the Apple brand for example. How weird is that?

I am Irish. So it’s not entirely unexpected that I like imported Irish butter.

Irish butter is better because the cows that produce graze on the lushest grass in the world. Because it rains all the bloody time the grass is especially rich.

The grass is green so the butter is golden. Literally.

So all other butter literally pales in comparison.

Lately I noticed that Whole Foods Market, who are a client, have replaced my native butter with butter from Iceland!

Now I studied Icelandic geography at school. It’s a volcanic rock in the ocean.

So consequently there is no way in hell their butter can be as good as ours.

But I trust Whole Foods to never let me down.

And they haven’t. The Icelandic butter is great.

Whole Foods have successfully over-ridden my brain.

To the point where I have started convincing myself there must a hidden meadow in Iceland where unicorns and dairy cows romp happily in the sunshine. In between squirting out milk that is the nectar of the gods apparently.

The power of a great brand.

I now believe in Icelandic butter.

25 responses to “The lush green grasslands of…Iceland?

  1. Everything has it’s day in the sun although don’t leave the butter out in it.

  2. Tastes like Smjor

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention --

  4. Vinny did you ask them why they changed butters? Putting on my Eco-Finance hat I bet its because Iceland devalued their currency enabling them to replace it with a butter as good, at the same sale price, but drastically reduced cost thus increasing profits.

    This does not counter your post. Just curious why the change. I trust Whole Foods too. Every single item of produce is 100% perfect. You pay for it. But it is perfect.

    • interesting theory howie. up next: icelandic truffles and champagne! having had a bit of a look behind the curtain at WFM i am happy to tell you that it’s even better than you think it is. there are a million great stories in those stores. they have a great culture.

  5. what a load of shit.

  6. ah! i see what you mean. :)

  7. This is for Anonymouse who I embrace your bluntness. Vinny has done great ad work for Budweiser in the past. Award winning. You will never hear him brag how great Bud is vs what is on the market, even though I think he actually sometimes drinks it.

    The two themes I have grabbed from this blog are are creativity and how brands (and their ads) can affect our culture. With some art and other topics thrown in. And being passionately Irish had the Icelandic Butter not been up to snuff I bet Vinny would of been very irate and slammed his client here (but tactfully). And the inspiration for this post was that he bought it technically against his will and was surprised. Which reinforced the view he has of the brand. As I had said every single piece of produce is perfect. I dare you to find an apple with a bruise. But you pay a premium for this and it’s not a slight one.

    • The funny thing howie is that i was a HUGE Budweiser fan. I loved that beer. and, though nobody wanted to hear it, it is a very well brewed beer. you wouldn’t believe the lengths they went to to make that beer. But because it’s not Guinness or dark or from Europe, Americans couldn’t conceive that it might be good. That was always our struggle. Beer. It’s all in your head!

  8. nope. it’s all fair. i misunderstood the pst

  9. Two things Vinny… First, I always thought Iceland was lush and green. Because I always tell the story that when the Norwegians first discovered Iceland and Greenland the names they gave them were the exact opposite of what the places were actually like… To stop people invading the lush green lands of Iceland they called it Iceland and left Greenland to fend for itself because it was covered in ice.
    Thinking about this now, as I write it, it’s probably one of those things your parents tell you and it’s only when you recount it as an adult that you realise it’s complete horse shit.

    Anyway, the second thing I wanted to say is regarding your comment about American’s not wanting to believe that Bud is good and “Beer. It’s all in your head”. … When I used to work on Stella Artois, about 10 years ago, it was the best selling beer in England. But in tastes tests, against all the other beers available, it always came out bottom. Thats the public for you. Tricky bunch. Hopefully that, couple with its adopted moniker ‘Wife beater’, is why it is no longer the best selling beer.

  10. i’d heard that story too stan. but took it to mean that Iceland could basically support life while Greenland was inhospitable even by Nordic standards ;-)

    were the beer taste tests blind? I personally like Stella. And Heineken. And Carlsberg. And Bud. I’m a lager drinker. To me, and i suspect 90% of the lager market, they are largely interchangeable. It’s fizzy refreshment. that’s all.

    Even after all these years I’d be hard pressed to tell one from the other. But once you ask someone their opinion, i have noticed there is a distinct urge to piss all over the category leader. And swear up and down that Budvar or some Belgian monk’s infected urine sample is the ONLY thing worth drinking.

    Like i’ve said before. Beer is all in your head!

  11. Love the Colt45 story.

  12. An interesting discussion you’ve got going here. Being Icelandic I’m happy you liked our butter, not least because the dairy is a client of mine! It was an immense breakthrough to get in at WFM, not least for such a small dairy producer. I’m sure the weak Icelandic currency played some part in all this, but the quality of the butter is truly excellent, the rest of you should give it a try :)

    • Halldor! thanks for commenting. and congratulations on getting SMJOR into WFM. As i’m sure you’re acutely aware that is a major big deal! Well done. And you’re right, the butter is amazing. It makes me want to visit Iceland just to see those green meadows.

      What exactly do you do for the Icelandic dairy farmers?

  13. Vinny, first of all I’d like say to how glad I was to find out that this blog is YOUR blog, I had no idea. I was googling to find out if smjör (yeah, the accent above the “o” is real, unlike Häagen-Dazs ;) ) was getting any attention or coverage, when I stumbled across your mention of it here.

    You asked what I do for the dairies, well I’m an art director at an ad agency ( in Reykjavik, Iceland and the dairy producer MS ( is one of our clients.
    It’s actually quite funny that the title of this post speaks of the grasslands of Iceland, because one of the images ( ) I used for a poster for smjör shows a very green pasture in the south of Iceland. The mountains in the pic are the Eyjafjöll mountains (yep, you guessed it, it’s near the notorious Eyjafjallajökull volcano) and as I was working on that poster (literally the same day) the volcano came alive and spread its ashes all over the “lush green grasslands” shown in the image.

    • timing is everything Halldor! we were about to shoot a mega production that used oil drilling as a metaphor for ink when the oil spill happened in the gulf last year.

      that meadow looks like green carpet btw. must figure out a way to bring the kids to Iceland. it would blow their minds.

  14. Hehe, touché! Timing is certainly tricky and sometimes it feels like its more or less up to chance.
    The green colour in the image is probably a bit exaggerated, but the cows belong to one of southern Iceland’s biggest dairy farms – they may well have provided some of the milk used in your butter :)

    You should definitely come visit our lonely rock in the middle of nowhere, it’s worth it. Actually, here at the agency we regularly invite creatives from abroad to come speak and inspire our clients – if you’re interested we could maybe set something up sometime.

  15. interested? i would love to do that. i grew up on another rock in the middle of the Atlantic.

  16. Excellent, we’d be happy to have you come up here for a visit!
    When you get the chance just drop me a line at work ( halldor [at] ) so we can keep in touch. I’m sure we can plan a visit any time it suits you.

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