Oslo’s new ingenious tourism ad tells travellers not to visit

parallax background

Visit Oslo has just published a rather contradictory yet simultaneously appealing tourism ad. “I wouldn’t come here” is the opening line of the video, narrated by a local Oslovian man named Halfdan around whom the ad is centred. A unique approach to tourism using a clever addition of reverse psychology, the video highlights the typical dry humour of Nordic countries as the protagonist focuses on the negative aspects of the city, equally reinforcing Oslo’s charm and character.

The common thread running through the ad depicts the city’s sense of availability and accessibility, taking a light jab at major tourist destinations such as Paris and New York, which, due to overtourism, demand more planning and waiting time to see the attractions you want to see. “I think a city should feel a little hard to get,” Halfdan ironically accentuates.

The inspiration for the ad is Oslo’s position as an underdog as far as city break destinations go, both in Europe and in the Nordics.

Anne-Signe Fagereng, Visit Oslo Marketing Director

A museum dedicated to artist Edvard Munch, opened in 2021, is also featured comedically in the ad. The Oslovian stands in front of the famous “The Scream” painting and comments unenthusiastically, “It’s not exactly the Mona Lisa”, whilst reflecting on the city’s seemingly lack of cultural appeal. 

With worldwide tourism nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and sudden excess in some of the world’s most popular countries such as Spain and Japan, Visit Oslo accentuates the city’s desirability through its tranquillity and authenticity. “The fact that it’s not as famous and crowded as some other capital cities is something we should start highlighting as a benefit,” explained Anne-Signe Fagereng, Visit Oslo’s Marketing Director, on the ad’s creative concept. 

The video journeys through notable landmarks and captures their beauty in an effortless way. Taken with what could be a hand-held camera, helps give a natural, “documentary feel” to the campaign. In an age of perfectly angled, edited and filtered social media travel posts, this transparent approach to marketing creates a genuine feel of Oslo, as opposed to the typical travel video of happy, smiling locals and/or tourists gushing about why their city is the best in the world. It makes it hard to believe. This ad can speak to those who are looking for new inspiration, fed up of overtourism or seeking out locations where they can feel more like a local.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *