Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Those Silly Danes

Imagine this: a video of an EXTREMELY pretty blonde woman with a nice looking baby in her lap. The baby is sucking on a bottle, as babies are want to do, and all looks peaceful. The video is set up as if the woman is doing this in her kitchen by her lonesome. She steadies the camera, or at least appears to, and sits down and begins.
She is a little nervous as she begins, but she has a look in her eyes and an accent to die for as she starts to tell her story. She tells us that she is making the video to find the father of her baby, August. She tells about how she had a tryst with a man who was visiting Denmark one night and that nine months later, wham! Motherhood. So she feels that the owes it to her baby, and that she owes it to his father, to try and find him. This video was released on YouTube for all the world to see. Don't believe me? Well watch it for yourself then.

So yeah, there it is. Seems like a pretty sad but normal video or at least as far as YouTube is concerned. Here's the twist though: that is not a mother wanting to find the father of her illegitimate son. Nope. That is a Danish tourism video.
Wait, what!? Yeah, I know. That makes no sense. But that is who created the video, that is who had it up on YouTube until it was taken down recently amid a storm of controversy. Luckily, the Internet being what the Internet is, there are copies of it just about everywhere. There are even responses, which doesn't surprise me because that's how people are and quite frankly, I would want everyone to think that I had been with this beautiful woman.
But I haven't. And I have doubts that the son is even hers, although I could be wrong. The woman is a Danish actress, Ditte Arnth Jørgsensen, who does a fantastic job by the way, who was hired by the ad company that was hired by the Danish tourism board, which is called VisitDenmark. I am not going to focus on or talk about how this reflects on Denmark, or the Danish people, or the implications of featuring a woman who had a child as a result of a one-night stand in your tourism video, that's been covered at length by a lot of media outlet type places. What I want to talk about is what a crappy ad this was.
Okay, okay. I am going to attempt to cut you off at the pass here, Company. I know what you are going to say, you are going to throw the modern, Internet-based 21st Century argument at me. And that's fine. I will say it for you. "This is a great ad campaign because it went viral, everybody has seen it and everybody else will see it by the end of the week. It's great because everyone is talking about Denmark, so it is bound to drum up some extra business. I mean, she even talks about some of the things to see in Copenhagen, and plus if I thought I could get lucky with a chick like that I'd be booking my airline tickets in a heartbeat." Well you're a fool. This is a terrible tourism commercial, and I am going to tell you why.
First of all, I am a pretty normal human being, and there is nothing in this video, aside from the very pretty girl and the accent I can't get enough of, that makes me want to visit Denmark, okay? The stark, white efficiency of her apartment kitchen is not going to make me place a call to my travel agent. And neither is the prospect of scoring with women like Ditte, because if I wanted a one night stand I could just go to the right bar in whatever community I am living, and besides, I have no chance in hell of hopping into bed with a woman like that, no matter how many beers I pump into her or how enchanting the statue of The Little Mermaid is. So, sorry, no trip to the Kattegat for me.
Let's get something straight here, Company. I am not a fan of the same old thing when it comes to advertising, okay? I like Cog. I like stuff that on the surface has nothing to do with whatever it is promoting. There is one little caveat to that, though. There has to be something in there somewhere to connect it to what it is advertising. Like, Cog is all about car parts, so in the end it makes sense. Not so much with the VisitDenmark video. It doesn't make sense. It has very little to do with Denmark, aside from the woman and child who are in it, or the association who put it out. We, in the video, do not see a single scene of Denmark. She does not mention any famous Danish sites other than a neighborhood in Copenhagen and the name of a bar. I see no sweeping Danish bridges. I see no quaint Danish cottages, or those row houses painted in sensible pastels. Nowhere does this give me an e-mail or a phone number that I can call for more information. I get no helpful tips regarding lodging or travel. I don't even see anyone having a good time. I see one woman who had a good time one night, one who is not a "bimbo" by the way, and now is spending a lifetime of responsibility for her actions.
This is the main point of the people at VisitDenmark, who claim that the video shows Denmark as a free society where people can take responsibility for their own actions. Great, that's how I base my vacations, on how moral and ethical I can be when I go there. That's exactly how Vegas and Bangkok got to be the thriving tourist centers they are. But that's just me; I guess that I just don't know how the Danes think. Maybe that sort of potential morality just gets the Danes all riled up, but then again the Danes are already living there and probably all know about what it's like in Denmark, so who are they targeting then, the Swedes? Norwegians? I am just not sure where they were going with this. If you are proud of your society, which I assume the Danes are, and should be, and want to tout the fact that there is a great amount of personal freedom and responsibility in your country, that's fine. That's wonderful. But a tourism video on YouTube is not the right place for that.
So where do we go from here, Big Dave? I can hear you asking. Well, not Denmark, I can tell you that much. I suppose that nothing will come of this. The people at VisitDenmark will move on to other ads and after its 15 minutes, after its 15 minutes of being viral, after its 15 minutes of being on every cable news channel, the video and the furor will fade away. Soon everyone will have forgotten it much like we have all forgotten William Hung ("Who's that?) See, you know I am right. Now I just have to find a video on the Internet that actually makes me WANT to go to Denmark.

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