There is no real Scandinavian. Everything we think of as Norwegian, Swedish and Danish is originally Greek, Persian or Turkish. Sincerely, Scandinavian Airlines Systems. So, the acronym could as well stand for Scandinavians Against Scandinavians.
A new two-minute 42 second ad from Scandinavian Airlines, “What is truly Scandinavian”, uploaded to YouTube last week, quickly went viral, garnering more than half a million views in just a few hours. However, it got so many “thumbs down” reactions that the video was temporarily removed and replaced by a “shorter and cleaner” version.
If the ad is targeted at Scandinavians, then telling them “hey, we’re actually small and just copy stuff” it isn’t going to resonate with people who don’t have that outlook.
The ad starts with the narrator saying:
“What is truly Scandinavian?”
“Everything is copied.”
When the message is that the rye bread beloved by Danes and the Swedish meatballs are Turkish, no wonder anti-immigration parties have accused the video of insulting the region’s culture and history. Also, other cultural icons like democracy and parental leave have been tackled in the video.
Related: Language of the Vikings
Nevertheless, SAS claims that the concept of the ad is to promote the idea of being inspired by other cultures, and therefore being inspired to travel. In a statement, SAS says that they plan to continue the campaign and “hope that it emphasizes the core message that travel enriches us”.
“We are no better than our Viking ancestors. We take everything we like on our trips abroad, adjust it a little bit, and et viola. It’s a unique Scandinavian thing. Going out into the world inspires us to think big, even though we’re quite small.”
The updated video received nearly 60,000 dislikes, and comments under the video have been disabled. Søren Espersen, the foreign affairs spokesperson for the populist, right-wing Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party), said he was “in shock” over the video and called on the Government, which owns 14.24% of the airline, to intervene.
In my opinion, this is in fact a great ad for globalism, but not so great for an airline. “It is regrettable that the film is misunderstood, that some choose to interpret the message and use it for their own purpose,” says a spokesperson for SAS, claiming there has been a “coordinated attack” on social media.
That being said, I think the ad is wonderfully made. The visuals are incredible and the commentary from the narrator almost poetic. But let me emphasize, Scandinavia is a region worth visiting with a genuine culture and heritage.
SAS – Scandinavians Against Scandinavians, written by Tor Kjolberg