Automotive Marketing SNAFU Confuses Icelandic Farmer

A field of sheep and rams with a farmer on a laptop and Dodge Ram sign

Siglufjörður, Iceland – So you want to be a RAM dealer? Truth be told, becoming a franchised car dealership is an incredibly unique experience. Both time-consuming and expensive, the requirements vary greatly from state-to-state. But despite the plentiful challenges and significant financial risks, the rewards of helming a successful dealership (and even standing atop the regional chain) can be immense. And all too often, such businesses are passed down through the generations, creating a familial dynasty.

So when Jeff Einarrson inherited the licensing rights to the franchised RAM dealership established by his late father, Einarr Olafson, he realized the potential for success. Only three things stood in his way…

First, he had no interest in selling automobiles (preferring to raise rare breeds of Icelandic livestock for later sale). Second, if he chose to relinquish his rights to the dealership and the property it sat upon, he would require governmental approval of the sale. Third (and most unfortunately) such approval was unlikely, seeing as the Icelandic government refused to believe that Jeff Einarrson actually existed.

For those unaware of Icelandic naming regulations, law dictates that all children born of Icelandic parents must be named one of the (1,712 male and 1,853 female) names approved by the National Registry. If a child’s name is not on this list, the parents must file for approval exemption by the Icelandic Naming Committee six months prior to the child’s birth. Failure to do so negates any rights a child obtains under national policy. This would include denial of such privileges as of obtaining a driver’s license, diploma, university degree, passport, the ability to get married, or to buy/sell a business.

In 1970, Einarr Olafson was an expectant father planning to name his unborn child after his college roommate, Jeffrey (should that child be born male). And born male, he was. Unfortunately, neither Jeffrey or Jeff are approved Icelandic names, and neither Einarr or his wife Margret remembered to file for exemption. Thus, Jeff Einarrson has lived a 48-year old life unacknowledged by the governing bodies of the land in which he lives.

But there is a silver lining. Considering the fact that Siglufjörður is (at least) a partially rural area, it places the family dealership in close proximity to farmable land. While Jeff Einarrson is legally unable to assume control of the the RAM franchisee licensing, any property (including signage) that was purchased by his late-father remains part of the estate which Jeff is sole heir to. As such, he arranged for the dealership’s 26-foot tall RAM roadside sign to be relocated 4.5 miles to public domain farmland.

Now, Jeff Einarrson is living the dream, raising dozens of Icelandic rams for breeding and further resale. According to Einarrson, “I’ve finally found my place. And my clients love it, because the sign makes it really easy to find me.”

So, if you’re a native of Iceland, interested in acquiring some of the finest rams available outside Siglufjörður, and willing to buy from a man who may or may not exist…just look for the giant RAM sign, and ask for Jeff.


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