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Denmark: Selling a lie

Denmark’s national tourist agency sells Denmark with an emotional lie.

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A Youtube video purporting to represent a pretty young Danish single mother looking for the foreign father of her son, may have garnered Denmark’s national tourist agency VisitDenmark some 800,000 clicks – but the story behind the video is a lie.

According to confirmed reports, the national tourist agency VisitDenmark generated the story of a one night stand with a foreign man producing a son, to get more people to visit the home of Shakespeare's 'To be or not to be'.

The video, however, is definitely 'Not to be' – the young woman in the video is a Danish actress and the baby is not hers.

”I don’t understand the advertising agency that has produced this story. What do they think people will think,” says Roskilde University Sociologist and Women’s Affairs Researcher Karen Sjørup.

”They’re obviously trying to sell a type of promiscuous Danish woman and exploit the idea that you can lure quick, blonde Danish women home – without a condom,” Sjørup says, adding however that foreigners who come to Denmark with that idea will be very disappointed.

Broad-minded
VisitDenmark disagrees.

”Karen’s story shows that Denmark is a broad-minded country where you can do what you want. The film is a good example of independent, dignified, Danish women who dare to make their own choices,” says VisitDenmark CEO Dorte Kiilerich.

Why have you chosen to market Denmark as a country with drunken women who have unsafe sex with casual acquaintances?

”That is not a story that I recognise. We tell a good and sweet story about a mature, responsible woman who lives in a free society and shoulders the responsibilty of her actions. And she uses a modern social medium,” Kiilerich says.

Ad agency
The Grey advertising agency that produced the video says it is a major success.

”It is the most successful viral advert ever. We have got through the media noise and it cost the same as a 30-second spot shown a couple of times on TV2,” says Peter Helstrup from Grey’s.

Since last Thursday, the video has notched up 1.9 million Google searches, 773,000 YouTube viewings and is linked to 83,000 websites.

No reproach
In the video, the young woman, claiming to be called Karen says: ”I don’t reproach you, but I think you should know that (a young boy called) August is here.”

Karen, however, is the actress Ditte Arnth Jørgsensen, the baby is not hers, and the viral advert was produced using taxpayer’s money.

The fabricated story behind the video is that the young woman met a tourist by chance in the Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, introduced him to the Danish concept of ’hygge’ or cosiness. The next morning his side of the bed was empty when she woke up, and nine months later the now one-and-a-half-year-old August appeared on the scene.

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