A Nordic airline has been called “disgusting” for saying Scandinavia has imported from other countries many of the things the region is known for.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, released a video campaign earlier this week that asked: “What is truly Scandinavian? Absolutely nothing.”
“Our democracy? Credit goes to Greece…Even the Danish isn’t Danish. It’s Austrian…The pride of Norway – the paperclip – was actually invented by an American,” the advert said.
It added: “We take everything we like from our trips abroad, adjust it a little bit – et voila – it’s a unique Scandinavian thing.
“In a way, Scandinavia was brought here, piece by piece, by everyday people.”
But this advert – which the airline says was intended to share the message that travel enriches people – was criticised heavily by nationalist and right-wing groups, and forced the company to temporarily take it down.
Soeren Espersen, the foreign affairs spokesperson for the populist Danish People’s Party, said on Facebook that he would have “a bad taste in my mouth” if he were to fly with the airline again “because they spit on us like that”.
Swedish Democrats secretary Richard Jomshof wrote: “What devilish nonsense and self-hatred. Have always tried to fly with SAS, but never again. It’s a promise.”
@SAS saw your commercial. Way to devalue your country and countryman’s pride. People love nothing more than to be told they are nothing and their culture is hollow. Every culture but your own is good. Congrats, will never recommend your self hating airline. #sas #sascommercial
— Corbin dallas (@imperator_roma) February 12, 2020
The airline later released a shorter edit of the campaign video and said it was “regrettable” that their message had been misunderstood.
It said: “SAS is a Scandinavian airline that brings travellers to, from and within Scandinavia, and we stand behind the message in the film that travel enriches us.
“We are proud of our Scandinavian heritage…When we travel, we influence our surroundings and we are influenced by others.
“The experiences we bring back from our travels inspire us as individuals, but also our society.
“It is regrettable that the film is misunderstood, that some choose to interpret the message and use it for their own purpose.”
Speaking about the response to the film, the airline added: “The pattern in the comment sections and the volume of reactions in SAS’ social media channels suggest that the campaign was subject to an attack.
“We cannot accept being a platform for values that we do not share. Consequently, we decided to unpublish the film in our own channels and we have now evaluated the situation.”
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