Oslo’s latest tourism campaign a strategic master stroke

The Core Agency founder Christian Finucane takes a look at a destination marketing campaign examining the silver lining of empty streets.

Seeing the Mona Lisa at The Louvre can be an inspiring experience – especially if you’re the creative team working on the Oslo Tourism account.

If you’ve been to see the top attractions in Paris, Rome or Venice during summer, then you’ve most likely just seen the back of other tourists’ heads gawping at paintings, fountains and gondolas from 30 yards away.

Over-tourism is at fever pitch and it’s destroying the very thing that tourists are trying to see.

As for the locals you could meet over a chilled Orangina or Chinotto, most of them have left town because they’ve either leased their place through Airbnb or just can’t afford to live there anymore.

But if you’re the savvy marketing director at Oslo Tourism, there’s a silver lining.

Why not show that Oslo is full of leisurely things to do because the city is so empty? Why not turn your lack of popularity into a positive?

That’s a great brief which was cleverly executed.

Instead of delivering a straightforward script, the creative team added a touch of wit and irony.

In the mocumentary-style spot, which has now gone viral, we meet an Oslo local as he’s walking around different parks, galleries and restaurants.

His opening line “I wouldn’t come here if I’m honest” is a classic.

He goes on to say that “everything is just so available”, adding that he “temporarily lives here, unfortunately” as he compares Oslo to a village, a contrast to overpacked cities whose locals abandon them once tourist season hits.

Even the Oslo-famous are about: “you walk around a corner and there’s the country’s Prime Minister, and then you walk around the next and there’s the king”.

The flat delivery works really well and draws the viewer in effortlessly, further reinforcing the easiness of Oslo.

What a great escape from other destinations it is.

I love it when I see brands of all kinds not take themselves too seriously, because it’s so powerful being able to laugh at yourself.

The strategic nugget here is that a perceived negative can be your marketing gold, which is often the braver move.

It makes financial sense too.

I heard about this campaign on ABC radio, a bit of free media for a city on the other side of the world on a non-commercial station.

That’s what brilliant ideas can do.

Watch the full video HERE.

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