A Nordic airline has been called “disgusting” for claiming that Scandinavia has imported many of the things the region is known for from other countries.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the courier from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, launched a video campaign earlier this week that asked, “What is truly Scandinavian? Absolutely nothing.”
He went on to identify Nordic-centric ideas and objects – such as democracy, the Danish pastryand Swedish meatballs – all originated elsewhere.
“Our democracy? The credit goes to Greece … The Dane is also not Danish. He is Austrian … Norway’s pride – the paperclip – was actually invented by an American,” said the announcement.
He added: “We take everything we like from our travels abroad, adjusting it a bit – et voilà – it’s a unique Scandinavian thing.
“In a way, Scandinavia has been brought here, piece by piece, by ordinary people.”
But this advertisement – which according to the airline intended to share the message that the journey enriches people – was heavily criticized by nationalist and right-wing groups and forced the airline to temporarily withdraw it.
Soeren Espersen, the foreign affairs spokesman of the populist Danish People’s Party, said on Facebook that he would have “a bad taste in his mouth” if he flew with the airline again “because they spit us that way”.
Swedish Democratic Secretary Richard Jomshof wrote: “What a diabolical absurdity and self-loathing. I’ve always tried to fly with SAS, but never again. It’s a promise.”
@SAS I saw your advertisement. Way to devalue your country and the pride of your compatriot. People love nothing more than being told that they are nothing and their culture is empty. Any culture except yours is good. Congratulations, I will never recommend your airline which hates itself. #sas #sascommercial
– Corbin dallas (@imperator_roma) February 12, 2020
The airline subsequently released a shorter change to the campaign video and said it was “regrettable” that their message had been misunderstood.
He said: “SAS is a Scandinavian airline that takes travelers to and from Scandinavia and we support the message in the film that travel enriches us.
“We are proud of our Scandinavian heritage … When we travel, we influence what surrounds us and we are influenced by others.
“The experiences we report from our travels inspire us as individuals, but also as a society.
“It is regrettable that the film is misunderstood, that some choose to interpret the message and use it for their own purposes.”
Speaking of 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 under attack.
“We cannot accept being a platform for values that we do not share. As a result, we have decided not to publish the film on our channels and now we have assessed the situation.”