Paulig’s Paula inspired the nation of coffee lovers a hundred years ago
The story of Paulig’s Coffee Ambassadors began more than a hundred years ago, as the first consumer fair was arranged in Helsinki in 1920. Six years later, Paulig’s very own PR character, Paulig’s Paula, was created as an illustration for use in Paulig’s ad posters and 500 gram coffee packages. As the story has it, Gustav Paulig met a beautiful maiden in a national costume while trekking in Visavuori forests in Sääksmäki, and was so enchanted, that he decided to introduce the maiden as an illustration on coffee tins.
Henrik Paulig brought the illustrated figure alive in 1950, as Sinikka Kekki from Nurmijärvi was chosen as the first Paulig’s Paula from among a total of 738 candidates. Sinikka’s sister had entered her in the competition because of the reward for the winner and the person who entered her – two kilos of real coffee. In austerity-era Finland, coffee was still very expensive and a rationed luxury delicacy.
Paula’s key role in the development of Finnish coffee culture
In the 1950s and 1960s, Paulig’s Paula attracted unforeseen interest. The selection of Paula no. 2, Eila Sandell, was announced on television, based on a popular vote, in 1958.
Anja Mustamäki was the third ambassador in 1962–1969. She toured various events and collected opinions and feedback from coffee lovers, participating in product development tasks as well.
While Paulig’s Paula no. 4, Mervi Salonen, held the position, the Paula service, that is, Paulig’s Consumer Service, was established.
All in all, Paulig has had 20 Coffee Ambassadors. Further information about the Coffee Ambassadors over the years is available here.
Today, the Coffee Ambassador is an explorer and social media influencer
The tasks of today’s Paulig Coffee Ambassador have transformed considerably from the role of the first Paula of Paulig. The purpose of Paulig’s Coffee Ambassador has, however, remained the same over the decades: the ambassador inspires coffee lovers and her happy and interesting personality, ideas and tips enrich the moments when Finns enjoy coffee.
At present, Iinaroosa Kanth, known as Paulig’s Inkku, continues the tradition of Paulig’s Coffee Ambassador. The name ‘Paula’ was abandoned when Inkku was chosen as the Coffee Ambassador. Uhana Design has designed the working clothes for Paulig’s Inkku, inspired by the national costume of Sääksmäki. In this day and age, the Coffee Ambassador’s role is first and foremost that of an explorer.
“Today, the Coffee Ambassador is a social media content producer and an explorer in the world of coffee. It has been instructive and memorable to contribute to the work of the Coffee Ambassador as a social media native, not forgetting the traditions,” says Paulig’s Inkku, the current Coffee Ambassador, the 20th in line.
“For me, it is really interesting to learn more about coffee, the strong Paulig brands and to be part of this family-owned company, which has had such a huge influence on the history of coffee in Finland. I also greatly appreciate all the sustainability work that Paulig has done over the years, and still does today, comprehensively developing the food culture for the future,” she continues.
The tradition’s 70th anniversary will be celebrated on the International Day of Coffee, 1 October 2020. Paulig Kulma, the house of coffee in central Helsinki, has also been decorated with a 1950s lounge in the spirit of the Coffee Ambassadors’ anniversary year.
Read more about Paulig’s history here: https://www.paulig.com/en/company/company-history
Pirjo Hästbacka, Communications Manager, Paulig, tel. +358 50 356 8359