Submitted by Kristian Kahrs…
Customer, pilots and employees in the Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) have reacted strongly after an advertisement stating that there is really nothing Scandinavian. Currently, the video has 13K likes and 107K dislikes.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris have previously questioned the wisdom of telling the people of Scandinavia that there is really nothing special about their culture in their analysis.
Reaching out to the top management, CEO Rickard Gustavson and the Chairman of the board of directors, Carsten Dilling from Denmark through LinkedIn, email and WhatsApp, they have not wanted to answer questions about the criticism from their own pilots and other employees.
The leader for the Swedish Pilot union in SAS, Wilhelm Tersmeden, says the following to the newspaper Expressen:
“The reactions of our customers to SAS’s latest commercials show that they appreciate and care about the Scandinavian brand. We share their view that with Irish aircraft, Spanish pilots and Baltic cabin crew, the Scandinavian feels increasingly marginalized”
In the same story under the subheading “Shot themselves in the foot,” two anonymous pilots are not very happy with the ad campaign.
SAS’s plans are similar to the plans the company has with its low-cost company SAS Ireland, which flies from London and Spain. The flights take place, among other things, to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo with foreign crews at a lower salary cost.”
“We see the film as a way from SAS to accustom the passengers in that there is no longer always Scandinavian staff on flights within Scandinavia. But this time, they have shot themselves in the foot,” says a pilot who remains anonymous.
Another pilot says: “Clearly, this should be seen as part of the preparation for a new low-cost company within SAS with foreign crews. Passengers should slowly but surely become accustomed to the fact that Norwegian, Swedish or Danish will not be spoken in the cabin. I see the film as a subtle way of getting passengers to think away the Scandinavian. The management is probably in shock now and is wondering what happened to this million production of a film.”
The leader for the SAS Pilot Group, Christian Laulund, a Norwegian pilot based in Oslo also wrote an email to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.
“The reactions to this film clearly show that our customers react strongly and are concerned about the Scandinavian brand SAS. The fact that the company is increasing the use of Irish aircraft, Spanish pilots and Baltic cabin crew makes “It´s Scandinavian” seem more and more distant,” Laulund writes.
Especially Swedish media, with the newspaper Aftonbladet as one of the worse examples, has done what they can to blame Russia and Russians for the negative backlash on the ad campaign. These are some of their headlines:
- We become useful idiots in a fictional culture war
- True Sweden friends do not run errands for Putin
- This is how right-wing populist networks hijacked SAS’s new commercials
In a press release, SAS writes that “the pattern in the comment sections and the volume of reactions in SAS’ social media channels suggest that the campaign was subject to an attack.
The Norwegian SAS spokesman John Eckoff says to faktisk.no that SAS has no evidence that Russians or right wing radicals are behind the negative backlash on the ad campaign. “We have seen no evidence for this,” Eckhoff says.
However, SAS has also been a target of a fake press release stating that “SAS warns legal response to Russian internet campaign.” The following statement never originated from SAS: “We have reason to believe that the attack on this ad was organized and managed by a network of professional actors, funded and directed by political leaders in the Russian Federation.”
The fake site fly-sas.world has now been suspended. When contacted by The Duran, Eckoff does not have any comment to the origin, other than to state that is it obviously fake.
In any case, it would be interesting to follow, and with the massive negative attention, it would be interesting to see if SAS will experience the same backlash as Gillette when they attacked men for being men. Currently the video We Believe: The Best Men Can Be has 810K likes and 1.5M dislikes.
Kristian Kahrs is a Norwegian living in Belgrade, Serbia, and he describes himself as a former NATO warmonger, turned a warrior for peace. Norway sent Kristian to Kosovo in 2000 to be the NATO spokesman, and he has previously been writing for The Associated Press and Norwegian and international media. More about Kristian on his website ohrabrenje.com.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.