Scandinavia Ad

If you still haven’t seen the Scandinavia ad, please do.

It’s so totally…

I mean…

Just really…

I have no words.

14 thoughts on “Scandinavia Ad”

  1. The author’s two interpretations sound right, but my first thought was “Scandinavians are presented as the ideal people, the ones smart and civilized enough to bring the best inventions of humankind together in one country.”

    Another thought was that saying “we haven’t invented anything, we don’t have a culture” is being coy. Those people are truly secure in their identity and superiority. Wish we too could be this privileged and optimistic instead of some aspects of Jewish-Israeli mentality.


  2. This makes more sense in a Scandinavian context than it does looking at it from the outside. (I teach a course that incorporates Scandinavian literature and I’ve read a quite a bit about modern Scandinavian societies, though I wouldn’t exactly claim to be an expert.)

    There is a strong strain of “we’ve built the perfect country” in lots of Scandinavian thinking. They come out on top of any measure of peace, prosperity, and social cohesion you can come up with and people are obviously very aware of that. At the same time there are also strong cultural taboos against bragging and showing off. You aren’t supposed to brag about your accomplishments or think that you are better than anyone else. Being a braggart or a show-off is really frowned upon. This is unofficially codified in the Law of Jante, which reads like some sort of parody to outsiders (and was apparently written as a sort of parody of small town life) but lots of Scandinavians take it very seriously.

    So there is a tension in realizing that you live in one of the richest and best run places on the planet and also having a culture in which no one is supposed to brag about how great they are or what they’ve accomplished. Contemporary Scandinavian literature and film is all about digging into various social and political problems to reveal the nasty stuff that is really going on behind the well ordered facade.


  3. I think the ad is a great illustration of Leslie’s idea in the other thread:”
    “AND I have just had an idea. All of the current identity speak / identity politics is exceptionalist tinged. Hm, I will have to work on this idea”

    The ad is saying what makes something Scandinavian is that they brought it home, put their twist on it and made it theirs. They collected a lot of things. That’s assimilationist. After all, they’re just adding
    “your biological and technological distinctiveness to [their] own” without the sinister overtones. :/


    1. The ad is the culmination of Margaret Thatcher’s “there’s no society, just individuals.” Here, it isn’t even individuals. It’s worse. There’s nothing but consumers. There’s no identity but that of a consumer. There’s nothing to the world but a collection of objects of consumption. Nothing can stop the voracious consumers from consuming. There’s no country, no culture, there’s just consuming.

      Compared to this, the Thatcher philosophy is quaint and endearing.


      1. Is this how we should start living from here on out?
        Disregard our own past, dismiss our own personal memories, surrender our own sense of personal identity, change our personal interests and passions to whatever is now currently being offered us in the contemporary present-and-now?

        No wonder so many folks are depressed and even suicidal. Or wish to “get even with society” (or even the world, for that matter).


      2. “The ad is the culmination of Margaret Thatcher’s “there’s no society, just individuals.” ”

        There was a similar anti-Brexit…. thing going around some time last year (and another one more recently) that said pretty much the same thing…. being British is not having any kind of history or distinctive culture it’s all “I consume therefore I am”….

        And of course no one would dare say “there is no Egyptian culture” or “there is no Mexican culture” or “There is no Nigerian culture” obliteration of the past is a weird kind of status striving for the spiritually dead….


      3. The ad is the culmination of Margaret Thatcher’s “there’s no society, just individuals.”

        An extended quote is:
        “They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.” – in an interview in Women’s Own in 1987

        This is a call to look after people, and have ownership and capacity for our actions. It is a demand that we do not rely on those who are supposed to be our “betters” but that we do we what we can to make our world a better place.

        It comes from Thatcher’s Christianity, and links to the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

        However, she has been misquoted ever since the interview was first published.


  4. This is great marketing! In Sweden particularly, there’s a big trend about flight-shaming (Greta Thunberg is aggravating that trend) which almost render out the concept of business travelling and is frowning upon middle-class flights.

    So what’s the main costumer base for this company now: rich wokesters (and there are a lot of them in Scandinavia)…and this ad give them what they want!


  5. Predictably, this ad caused 4Chan to lose its shit.
    The response has been ferocious. The airline’s social media channels have been bombarded with thousands of angry comments from people who disagree with the ad’s message. SAS told the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet that it believed the outcry was the result of a “coordinated attack on the campaign.”

    SAS’ suspicions appear to be correct. While the backlash likely has multiple points of origin, the ad campaign has particularly incensed 4chan’s Pol message board, the politics-focused portion of the website that’s a known hub for fringe alt-righters and white nationalists. The commercial directly contradicts bigoted notions of white, European, and Nordic supremacy, which are core beliefs of the internet far-right. In response, Pol users have launched a coordinated campaign targeting the airline and the ad agency that made the video.

    As is often the case on the Pol board, the rage is unequivocally racist. While 4chan is small compared to some other social media platforms, the site still brings in 27 million monthly users, according to its own metrics. And compared to other 4chan eruptions, the scope of the anti-SAS campaign is massive. Pol users have created more than a dozen independent threads to gripe about the ad, and many are highly active.

    Users in almost every thread viewed by Mother Jones posted links to the YouTube video of the ad and encouraged others to “be sure to let them know how you feel in the comments” and to “hit that dislike button.” SAS disabled comments at some point after posting the video. However, the “like” and “dislike” buttons are still available, with dislikes massively outpacing likes, 62,000 to 4,500. Pol users also suggested that trolls direct their rage at other, related targets. “Community comment section still open,” one user wrote in response to a post about the commercial being temporarily removed from YouTube.

    “F–gots turned comments off,” another poster wrote. “Pretty soon they’ll turn the like/dislike off too. But luckily, this ad is mirrored elsewhere where comments AREN’T turned off.”
    One 4chan poster directed users to “clog” SAS’s online customer service portal with comments.

    “We should troll the ad agency,” another 4channer suggested, linking to the website of &Co., the Copenhagen-based firm that SAS worked with.

    Others did troll the agency. According to 4chan posters, &Co. pulled the reviews section off of its YouTube page. 4channers even posted a list of the agency’s staff. Mother Jones found roughly a dozen instances in which the list was posted on anti-SAS threads.

    “I’m glad my kidney failure is going to kill me soon. I feel bad for the people that are going to live long lives and have to deal with this shit,” one 4channer wrote, to which another responded, “If you are going to die, why not immortalize your name? Lol.”

    Another asked, “Any Scandi up for a minecraft exploration?”—fringe-internet slang that’s a “way to talk about real-world threats without saying that you’re going to commit a crime,” according to Ben Decker, an internet researcher who runs the media and tech investigations consultancy Memetica.

    A few 4chan users appeared to explicitly call for violence.

    “i’d recommend all nordics to just pull a fucking brevic,” one poster wrote, referencing the far-right Norweigan terrorist Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in the country in 2011.

    “They deserve the Megumin Ryder truck,” another wrote, likely referencing a 2018 Toronto attack in which a man drove a truck into pedestrians, killing 10. The driver claimed that his attack was inspired by incel culture, a toxic and often misogynistic internet community of “involuntary celibate” men.

    The ad agency declined to comment, and SAS has not yet responded to a request for comment….


    1. I get to “white nationalists,” and I stop reading. I’m in academia, I get enough of that drivel at work. I’m not going to be reading it for free. :-)))


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