A Scandinavian Perspective
The Scandinavia Peninsula of northern Europe includes the countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.
When the two constituent countries within the Kingdom of Denmark are added, namely Greenland and the Faroe Islands, they are refered to as the ‘Nordic Countries’.
For me there is a markedly discernable and very distinctive style that chracterises Scandinavian advertising and commercials. They generally have a unique beauty, reflect a refreshing honesty and openness and have an insightful Scandinavian perspective of human behaviour and all its amusing idiosyncrasies.
1. Rekorderlig Swedish Premium Cider, Silver Skaters
Advertising Agency; Saatchi & Saatchi, London
Saatchi & Saatchi engaged Swedish Director Andreas Nilsson to film a commercial that would be quintessentially Swedish in character.
Jon Henrik’s Swedish folk track ‘Reindeer Herder was chosen for the soundtrack for its mystical resonance and it is central to the unique mood and atmospheric tone of the commercial. His composition is based on the ancient and haunting ‘kulning’ herding call which is also a song.
Set on the frozen Torneträsk lake in Lapland, Sweden, the story centres on two skating brothers Henrik and Anders and their coach/singer Jarmo. Their quirky routine is complex, but with all three men working together in synch they create a sequence that seems effortless and ‘beautifully Swedish’.
The commercial won a D&AD Award for Film Advertising Crafts / Use of Music for Film Advertising.
2. Wideroe Norwegian Airlines, Grandpa’s Magic Trick
Advertising Agency: McCann, Oslo
Wideroe is a regional Norwegian airline service to remote areas. Directed by Marius Holt, this quietly simple commercial with its enchanting story and majestic scenery, is a subtle metaphor for the airline about the magic of flying to bring people together.
3. Foster Homes Norway, The Lunchbox
Advertising Agency: Kitchen Leo Burnett, Oslo
This commercial is part of a campaign for the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, to recruit more foster homes. Directed by Jens Lien with admirable sensitivity, this emotive story quietly demonstrates the power of community and ends with the insighful message that ‘solutions are often closer than you think’.
The lunchbox story motivated 120 Million views in the first week of airing. The moral of the message about the upliftment of disadvantaged children by caring communities resonated throughout Scandinavia and far beyond.
4. Arla Skyr Icelandic Yoghurt, The Messenger
Advertising Agency: Wieden+ Kennedy, London
Skyr has a long history in Iceland of being part of everyone’s diet which explains Arla’s faitful adherence to a recipe that is more than a thousand years old.
This story turns the clock back to the 60’s when young Icelanders, in remote villages with only one telephone, worked as messengers to keep the hardy inhabitants of this sparsely-populared island connected to each other.
Dougal Wilson directed this beautifully filmed commercial, shot on location in Iceland during sub-zero temperatures, about one such young messenger Orri Sigurdsson who, sustained by his daily diet of Skyr, goes to extraordinary lengths to deliver his messages.
5. Spies Travel Agency, Do It For Denmark, Do It For Mum
Advertising Agency: Robert/Boisen & Like-minded, Denmark
It seems that Danish Mums are facing the very vexing and likely prospect that they will not have grandchildren one day.
The Spies Travel Agency however, has come up with a solution as this candid and entertaining commercial, directed by Niels Nørløv, explains.
6. Finlandia Vodka,1000 Years of Less Ordinary Wisdom
Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, London
The Finns are known for their love of individuality, open-mindedness and their stoic pride in forging their own life path and way of thinking.
These characteristics define the essence of Filandia’s brand image as a less than ordinary vodka. Pure glacial spring water, the finest ingredients and extraordinary craftsmanship underscores its authenticity and competitive brand edge.
1000 Years of Less Ordinary Wisdom from The Land of a 1000 Lakes.
Directed by Siri Bunford, this two and and half minute, semi-documentary commercial, is about the wisdom of extradionay people who share Filandia’s philosophy of living a ‘life less ordinary’. The sum of the cast’s ages totals the 1000 years refered to in the commercial’s title.