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Is anything quintessentially Scandinavian? SAS airline republish controversial video advert

Is anything quintessentially Scandinavian? SAS airline republish controversial video advert
Copyright AP Photo/Paul White
Copyright AP Photo/Paul White
By Matthew Holroyd
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One Danish politician saying the airline was "spitting" on Scandinavian culture with the "disgusting" commercial.


Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced they will continue a controversial advert campaign, despite widespread criticism on social media.

On Tuesday the airline published its latest campaign video under the title, "What is truly Scandinavian for real? Absolutely nothing."

Anti-immigration parties have accused the video of insulting the region's culture and history.

But in a statement, SAS said that they plan to continue the campaign and "hope that it emphasises the core message that travel enriches us".

SAS - What is truly Scandinavian?

We are proud of our Scandinavian heritage. Many of the things we call Scandinavian today were brought here and refined by curious, open-minded and innovative Scandinavians. Travelers bring home great ideas.

Publiée par SAS - Scandinavian Airlines sur Mercredi 12 février 2020

"We are proud of our Scandinavian heritage. It is part of SAS’ DNA and the foundation for our existence."

"It is regrettable that the film is misunderstood, that some choose to interpret the message and use it for their own purpose."

SAS says they believe their social media channels were "hijacked" by an "online attack", due to the pattern and volume of reactions to the video.

"We cannot accept being a platform for values that we do not share".

Following the criticism, the video was temporarily unpublished by the airline, only a few hours after it was first released.

A "shorter and cleaner" version of the film was published on Wednesday.

The updated video on Scandinavian Airlines' YouTube page has received nearly 60,000 dislikes, and comments under the video have been disabled.

"Really devilish nonsense and self-hatred"

The airline’s commercial video “What is truly Scandinavian?” attempted to explain how aspects of the region's culture, including Swedish meatballs and Danish pastries, all originated elsewhere.

“In a way, Scandinavia was brought here piece by piece, by everyday people we found the best of our home away from home.”

SAS says the video was part of a campaign to showcase the benefits of travel and how Scandinavia is influenced by others.

But the video became the victim of widespread anger on social media, notably from populist groups across the region.


Richard Jomshof of the Sweden Democrats said on Facebook that the video was "really devilish nonsense and self-hatred".

"[I] Have always tried to fly with SAS, but never again. It's a promise."

Vilket regelrätt djävla nonsens och självhat. Har alltid försökt flyga med SAS, men aldrig mer. Det är ett löfte.

Publiée par Richard Jomshof sur Mardi 11 février 2020

But Daniel Riazat, from the socialist Left Party, said he had enjoyed the commercial and that it was a shame that SAS had "bowed to the racists" and removed it.

Meanwhile, members of the Danish People’s Party called on the Danish government, which has a 14% stake in the airline, to take action against SAS.


Søren Espersen described the film as "disgusting" and said SAS were "spitting on all that is truly Norwegian, truly Swedish and truly Danish".

"I'm going to have a bad taste in my mouth the next time I get in an SAS plane".

SAS nedgør med sin ulækre kampagnefilm alt ægte norsk, ægte svensk og ægte dansk. SAS spytter samtidig på enhver...

Publiée par Søren Espersen sur Mercredi 12 février 2020

Bo Kleis Christensen added on Facebook that SAS "crossed a vital cultural boundary for us, ordinary people".

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