Youtube ad campaign for Danish Tourism board depicts single mum looking for her child’s father

I have only just discovered this extraordinary ad campaign on Boing Boing – there was some controversy surrounding this back in September resulting in the ad being removed from Youtube.

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more about “Youtube ad campaign for Danish Touris…“, posted with vodpod

What makes this campaign extraordinary is the fact that rather than promoting safe sex, or prevention of STDs or unwanted pregnancy, it is in fact for the Danish Tourist Board, and the objective is to encourage more overseas visitors to consider Denmark as a holiday destination.

The controversial aspects of the campaign are clear, and have been discussed elsewhere, particularly on Adland.tv.

What struck me was the comments made by the CEO of Danish Tourism, Dorte Kiilerich.

“Karen’s story shows that Denmark is a free place with space for you to be who you want. The film is good exposure for Danish self-sufficient and dignified women.”

I don’t really see this at all, and judging by the controversy and subsequent apology, it would seem that other people don’t either. I am just wondering if this is because we aren’t Danish. Denmark is a society that really is socially ahead of the curve, having been the first country to legalise pornography (in 1969) and same-sex marriages (in 1989).

Maybe we just don’t get it because we are mired in antiquated behaviour and conservatism. Or maybe the idea was to play on national stereotypes and generate attention through controversy.

Thinking of cultural insensitivity in tourism advertising reminds me of the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre in UK banning the TV spots for Tourism Australia for featuring the word ‘bloody’ (a word so inoffensive in today’s society, that my grandmother would not be averse to using it).

It goes to show how even the smallest of issues can be misconstrued and misinterpreted, with the original objective and intention completely lost in the ensuing public debate.

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