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SAS in the spotlight after advertising attack on Scandinavian culture

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The airline SAS, which is partly owned by Swedish, Norwegian and Danish taxpayers, is in a storm after its latest promotional video makes derogatory remarks about the origins of Scandinavians, claiming that their cultures do not exist.

What exactly is Scandinavian? Absolutely nothing.

Yes, with the absolute SAS opens its criticized commercial (see above) released earlier this week. Not unexpectedly, it sparked a public outcry that probably caused the SAS emergency management team to change their underwear once and twice. I'm probably last on the ball in writing about it, but still thought it might be interesting to break down what they actually say in the film.

According to major media outlets, trolls have counter-attacked SAS after their advertising jip. Believe it or not the Scandinavian trolls are getting angry. Image: 'Trolls and Tuvstarr' by John Bauer, 1915

Absolutely nothing is Scandinavian, is what they claim. "Everything is copied," they continue, and then highlight a number of whole and half-truths about how Scandinavian peoples over the centuries have taken foreign influences and ideas and made them their own. No wonder. No culture is an island. Except if we are talking about sentileserna of course, then it's actually literally a small, isolated island in the Indian Ocean.

Nor is there anything wrong with SAS's concluding assertion that openness is the hallmark of Scandinavia, and that the exchange of ideas has made our countries what they are today. We Scandinavians have always been curious about the outside world, we had good trade relations as early as the Bronze Age, we commuted to Constantinople in the Viking Age, and we have been very good at embracing new ideas and innovations, and even inventing a lot of innovations ourselves. Anything that could make life easier up here in the barren North.

But the unhistorical, derogatory and at the same time very Swedish claptrap the SAS company does is to pull a few threads in the enormous Scandinavian cultural fabric and say "Look! These threads come from other countries!", and on that basis discard the whole cloth.

According to SAS logic, there is no peculiar Danish culture and never has been because the raw material for Danish rye bread actually spread to Europe from Turkey Anatolia a few thousand years ago. Similarly, the existence of our swedish christmas dismissed by the company Åhlens with the claim that the model for the plot was Turkish Greek (pure falsification of history).

I call this kind of self-hating behaviour Swedish, because it is far from being a new phenomenon in Sweden that people magnify everything foreign and diminish their own. The statistician Gustav Sundbärg wrote as early as 1911 in The Swedish Folklynnet:

Imagination puts everything that is distant in a brilliant light for the Swede. What lies just ahead he does not see. [...] The Swede is indifferent to his own, enraptured by all that lies far away.

Danish, Swedish, Norwegian - these are cultures that go back thousands of years in Scandinavia. For 5,000 years, our ancestors have cultivated the Scandinavian soil. For 5,000 years, Scandinavian farming cultures have developed their uniqueness. This is not new knowledge.

The truth is, of course, that the Scandinavian cultures not has been shaped not so much by the exciting dishes brought by returning tourists, but by the people who have lived here - generation after generation, millennium after millennium.

It is therefore difficult to take SAS commercials seriously. Man should not take it seriously. It must be seen for what it is, a stunt designed down to the last detail to push the right buttons, to provoke, to generate clicks, to make headlines. And headlines it made!

Against such marketing methods Allmogens always on the side of the Scandinavian trolls, fairies and small gnomes ❤️

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5 thoughts on “SAS i blåsväder efter reklamattack på skandinavisk kultur

  1. Anders Nordin says:

    Well written. Agreed. Our ancestors and grandmothers have tilled the soil, shaped the forest, blasted the rock for silver and iron, and in the past have pulled ore from the mire of acid bogs and caught fish in the sea, river and lake. They have toiled for centuries to overcome poverty and starvation just to survive. All these centuries of taming and harnessing nature are what are the roots of our culture.

  2. Per Erik Bergqvist says:

    Hi Daniel. Found your page onFB by pure "coincidence, you don't know what the fairies had to do with it" anyway, half Swedish and half Norwegian, My mother came from Norway during the war, due to a pregnancy with a German soldier and a father and brothers who were in the resistance movement. Personally, I think the Nordic countries have a culture all their own and our distant relatives in the Viking Age were the greatest explorers ever. The fact that people still celebrate Columbus discovering America is a disgrace, we were there before them about 500 years ago To claim that we don't have our own history is a complete insult. We should have the Vikings by now!

  3. Carl Lundström says:

    SAS's political lies, as well as Volvo's totally untrue advertising messages claiming that the company's success is based on immigrants, are unlikely to sell another plane ticket or car - rather fewer. What on earth are these corporate executives advertising? Their government? Or are they in fact promoting themselves, for the next job on some board of a more political operation perhaps a bank or the EU or some other state or supranational?

  4. Inga-Lill says:

    What SAS forgot was not only 5000 years of history, it was also all the inventions made here in Sweden - they are also part of our culture. Just to name a few that are still used several times every day, the wrench, the ball bearing, the respirator, the zipper, the refrigerator - these are just a few of the most famous ones.

    • Daniel Sjöberg says:

      Yes it is, Inga-Lill! To say that they picked the raisins out of the cake is quite an understatement. Falsifying history is not done by what you say, Vilhelm Moberg said, but by everything you leave out. And it is certainly a form of falsification of history that SAS is engaged in.

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