Skift Take

Oslo doesn't take the typical smiling local approach in its new tourism ad. It instead uses dry Nordic humor to promote Oslo's unique appeal.

“I wouldn’t come here.” That’s the opening of a new ad from from Visit Oslo that promotes the relative ease of Norway’s capital as a tourist destination.

“Everything is just so available.” A 31-year-old local shares that there are no lines at museums, no waits at restaurants.

He tells you everything that’s wrong with Oslo – while sharing exactly what makes it unique and beautiful.

“The inspiration for the ad is Oslo’s position as an underdog as far as city break destinations go, both in Europe and in the Nordics,” said Anne-Signe Fagereng, director of marketing for Visit Oslo. 

It’s an appealing message, especially now. The world’s most popular tourist destinations are currently experiencing a boom, with some like Japan, Venice and Barcelona being struck with overtourism.

“The fact that it’s not as famous and crowded as some other capital cities is something we should start highlighting as a benefit,” said Fagereng.

Some of the Norwegian capital’s most famous attractions are Akershus Fortress, the Nobel Peace Center and the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

In 2021, the city opened a museum dedicated to artist Edvard Munch. In 2022, it opened a National Museum. The Museum of the Viking Age is coming in 2027.

“Oslo has been through an incredibly positive transformation over the last few decades, so it’s time our confidence in our capital catches up with reality. Our protagonist Halfdan is obviously not quite there though!” she said.

Oslo saw an upsurge in international arrivals this past quarter. International arrivals in the Norwegian capital are up 26% from 2019 levels, according to ForwardKeys.

When Skift’s founder and CEO Rafat Ali shared the video on X, it received 1 million views on the first day thanks to viral reshares.

Zero Excited Oslo Locals

The ad incorporates the dry humor Nordic countries are known for. Last year, Visit Sweden launched a campaign ad reminding viewers to stop confusing it with Switzerland. In 2021, Visit Iceland launched an ad that parodied the Metaverse.

Most tourism ads feature locals talking about what they love about their destination with a big smile, which can sometimes be taken as disingenuous and insincere. In contrast, the actor in the ad talks about Oslo in a somber tone and doesn’t crack a smile.

“There are so many wonderful destinations in the world and a lot of pretty ads for them, but to stand out we really needed a different and more creative approach,” said Fagereng.


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Tags: destination markeing, norway, oslo, tourism

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