Made Up Controversy Over SAS’ “What Is Truly Scandinavian” Ad


SAS took down the video below on Wednesday after right-wing, and hate groups hijacked the campaign that was supposed to present what is truly Scandinavian.

The general idea of the ad was supposed to be that travel enriches us and always has. Many of the things that we now deem dear and unique to specific countries originated from elsewhere due to travel and influence.

Note that SAS first withdraw the ad from its social media channels but has not enabled it again.

Here’s the press release from the SAS:


February 12, 2020 11:02

SAS is a Scandinavian airline that brings travelers to, from an within Scandinavia. We stand by the core message in the commercial, that travel enriches us.

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.

When analyzing the pattern and volume of reactions we have reason to suspect an online attack and that the campaign has been hijacked. We do not want to risk being a platform for views that we do not share. We have therefore temporarily removed the film from our channels and we are currently evaluating the next step.

Here’s an excerpt from the Local Norway (access their piece here):

The commercial for airline SAS, which proclaims to bust myths over a number of preconceptions as to what is ‘truly’ Danish, Swedish or Norwegian, was pulled on Wednesday after a backlash from social media users and suspicions of a coordinated cyber attack against the company.

After asking “What is truly Scandinavian?”, the video’s narrator goes on to say the answer to that question is “absolutely nothing”.

Subsequently, the non-Scandinavian national origins of several things dear to the Nordics are pointed out: including democracy (Greece), rye bread (Turkey), open sandwiches (Netherlands), Danish pastries (Austria), liquorice (China), windmills (Persia), and both cycling and midsummer (Germany). Somewhat debatably, the United States is given credit for “empowering the women’s rights movement”.

The moral of the story, according to SAS, is that everything is inspired by other cultures, hence the importance of travel and bringing back things you like.


I cannot see what the furor about the ad is? It just proves that many things that we believe to be from Scandinavia (or the Nordics so that we can also include my homeland of Finland) or wherever you happen to live came from elsewhere, including those delicious Swedish meatballs (Turkey).

Scandinavian countries have slowly become more multiracial, considering how homogenous the population was for centuries. I guess that part of the public has an issue with this.

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