Want some hygge? Visit Denmark

This is a very quick posting, but it’s nice to know that most countries struggle to work out the best way to promote their country “brand”. I think the issue is that the gig is often a hard one for any agency. It seems that they try (or are required by the brief) to come up with ways to get attention, or distill the idea of the country into a single concept. The problem is that the agency struggles to come to terms with the many stakeholders interested in the campaign’s success, and it ends up being a bit of poisoned chalice.



So, this video is part of a Visit Denmark viral campaign. It’s an example of an interesting execution, but has lost some of its impact because the initiator of the virus has been exposed very quickly.

The new mother in the “advertisement” says that she wanted to demonstrate to her new foreign friend the Danish hygge (which is sometimes described as cosiness, but might be better defined as a particularly Danish form of social intimacy), as a subtle means of intimating a particularly Danish trait that visitors may be lucky enough to encounter. For some, this may prove to be a compelling enough reason to visit Denmark… next time I’m in the general region, I’ll probably pop over (and say “hi” to Princess Mary, as well).

My understanding is that it is part of a broader campaign that seeks to position Denmark as different from the other Nordic countries through the tag, “Get a more Danish view on life”. Another advertisement broadcast in Sweden reinforces the concept of doing things the Danish way, which seems to be a key element of how the Danes see themselves as distinctive (in comparison to other Nordic countries, particularly Sweden).

According to reports, the agency, Grey, who produced the video says it is a major success. “It is the most successful viral advert ever. We have got through the media noise and it cost the same as a 30-second spot shown a couple of times on TV2”, says Peter Helstrup from Greys.

politiken.dk says that since last Thursday (10 September, 2009), the video has notched up 1.9 million Google searches, 773,000 YouTube viewings and is linked to 83,000 websites. (including mine).

So, I’m not sure whether this advertisement will result in large numbers visiting the country, but that shouldn’t be the purpose or expected effect of a single advertisement, whether viral or interruptive. As I have said previously, countries are complex, and it depends on who your market is, and to some degree, the barriers to them visiting.

But I do think it is getting people thinking and talking about Denmark… which might be helpful in differentiating Denmark in new markets, and may lead to salience that other, similar  countries (in the eyes of the target market) don’t have. In might also work to divert some attention away from Sweden as the only place with attractive blonde women. All problematic from a political/gender perspective, but when have marketers worried about that as an issue?

That said, Visit Denmark advised today that they have removed the ad from circulation (although it will continue to exist on YouTube).



This one, from BBC is a sweet execution (as an aside, it is extraordinary how music influences your response), that draws upon the concept of place, but I am wary of whether agencies would be able to translate this to a country campaign. The would have to understand the motivations for their different target markets before this style would have an impact.


As I have some time to reflect, I’ll post some more thoughts. Stay tuned.

This entry was posted in Advertising, Human Behavior, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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