Iceland has become one of the most wanted places to go after the epidemic, thanks to humor

Just imagine a scenario like this:

You leisurely climb mountains, camp, soak in hot springs, and enjoy your annual vacation. Suddenly, the message of "Death Chase" from customers and bosses popped up, and the number of unread little red dots quickly changed from 1 to 99+…

You put down your phone and take it easy. Because you know, a thoroughbred named Hekla frá Þorkellshóli will handle all your annoying work messages for you, even though his replies are just gibberish:

Where can such a funny and just-needed service be found? Hello, Iceland Tourism Board to find out!

Iceland Tourism Board, how many brain holes are hidden?

When it comes to Iceland, we often think of the crystal clear blue ice caves and the Northern Lights that must be seen in our lifetime.

Some people hike on glaciers, while others travel on volcanoes. In this magical Nordic small country, you can easily take high-end blockbusters with a sense of loneliness.

▲ Picture from Unsplash

However, in addition to the natural scenery at the end of the world, in recent years, humor and creativity have frequently made Iceland out of the circle.

As mentioned at the beginning, it was a marketing campaign "OutHorse Your Email" launched by the Icelandic Tourism Board in May.

They found through research that 41% of respondents check their emails 1-4 times a day while on vacation; another 59% said that even when they were on vacation, they felt that their boss, client or colleague wanted to reply right away.

No kidding, the Icelandic Tourism Board has solidly invited 3 Icelandic horses, made large wooden keyboards, and hired a special person to train these horses to learn how to code with their feet and hoofs, hoping to use horses instead, so that tourists’ journeys will not be disturbed. disturb.

▲ The 3 candidate horses have their own personalities. For example, the one on the far left typed very quickly, but liked to doze off.

In the past two or three years, the epidemic has made outbound travel a luxury. Even if you can't leave immediately, seeing such an interesting brain hole makes people laugh out loud.

You may be wondering: Why is the tourism bureau wasting money on advertising during a period of inconvenient travel such as the epidemic?

Although the event of force majeure has caused the local tourism industry to fall back to the level of nearly 10 years ago, the Icelandic Tourism Board has not stopped playing cold and humorous steps. They racked their brains for a different angle, hoping to impress people with empathy and prepare for the recovery of tourism in the future.

So, with the gradual lifting of travel restrictions starting in June 2020, Iceland Tourism has launched a series of marketing campaigns called "Looks Like You Need Iceland" .

Getting up every day is bad news, surrounded by video conferencing, home isolation collapses, unable to touch nature, unable to go to the gym, and even missing spring and summer… Enough is enough! You need Iceland to give you some physical and mental comfort!

This insight completely stabbed people's inner distress. The related videos have been viewed more than 12.47 million times on YouTube, and the comment area is full of tears, either because they miss Iceland where they have been, or they can't wait to plant grass on the spot and want to leave.

In this general direction, one month later, the Icelandic Tourism Board launched the "Let It Out" campaign.

They invited people from all over the world to record their collapse screams under the pressure of the epidemic, and found seven yellow speakers to play in waterfalls, glaciers, cliffs and other places in Iceland.

Any user who opens the event website can see the real-time broadcast of the 7 speakers. The screams, wind, and waterfalls are intertwined. After the repressed emotions are vented, they become inexplicably cured.

The head of the tourism board said, "Iceland has enough space and beautiful nature to be an ideal place for you to eliminate negative energy." The survey data shows that this "scream" has brought a 48.5% increase in booking search volume, and the intention to book travel has also increased by 5.7 times, making Iceland one of the preferred destinations for people after the epidemic.

Similar activities, as well as the "Sweatpants for Outdoor Boots" launched in June last year.

After working from home for so long, should you be tired of wearing sweatpants every day? This time, the Icelandic Tourism Board invites people to bring their old sweatpants and go to a local pop-up store in Iceland to transform them into a pair of outdoor boots for their first adventure after the epidemic.

In November last year, when Facebook changed its name to Meta with great fanfare and made a big cake for the Metaverse, the Icelandic Tourism Board also quickly hit the hot spot, finding an actor who bumped into Zuckerberg's face to make fun of it and introduce "Icelandverse (Icelandverse (Icelandverse )" to the world. Iceland Universe)" .

There's no need for a clunky, goofy VR headset, where the experience is real.

People can have immersive interactions with hot springs, see the spectacular Northern Lights with their own eyes, touch the dark volcanic rocks… The Icelandic universe is a world full of infinite possibilities.

Against the backdrop of the Metaverse pie, the real-world glacier waterfall is even more shocking.

"This video makes me want to quit social networks, enjoy the pristine beauty of Iceland, and live an unplugged life," one YouTuber, Tristan Price, commented after watching the video.

▲ Zuckerberg responded to this: You also put on sunscreen, not bad

In January, Forbes.com summarized several features of travel trends for 2022 , including:

  • People are more willing to explore new destinations;
  • A preference for sustainable travel;
  • Family travel is back as a hot trend;
  • "Once in a lifetime" trips increased;
  • Slow down and enjoy the journey experience;
  • Hope to go somewhere far away from the hustle and bustle.

A travel company, Discover the World, even launched a one-month Iceland Discovery Route project , focusing on healing slow travel.

▲ Picture from Unsplash

Looking back at the marketing activities of the Icelandic Tourism Board during these epidemics, it did not simply shout out loud about the natural scenery, but planted grass all over the world with a humorous, playful and optimistic attitude based on people's emotional needs.

As Iceland lifted entry restrictions in February this year, @Iceland Embassy in China said on Weibo that Iceland's tourism industry is currently picking up, and local travel agency staff said that hotels and car rental services in most areas of the peak season are fully booked, " People also seem to be coming out of the haze."

Beauty is far from enough for a tourist destination to go out of the circle

Friends who like talk shows have probably heard such a stalk:

The number of people marked in Iceland on WeChat (over 10 million) is far more than the actual population of Iceland (about 360,000).

▲ The picture is from the fourth season of "Talk Show"

In fact, Iceland's ability to change from an inconspicuous small Nordic country to a popular tourist destination "you have to go once in a lifetime" is really inseparable from the various "saucy operations" of the Icelandic Tourism Board.

The story goes back to 2008.

This year, Iceland encountered a financial crisis, the local currency krona fell sharply against the euro, and the Prime Minister of Iceland even issued a warning that Iceland was facing "national bankruptcy". For foreign tourists, the devaluation of Iceland's currency meant lower travel costs, an attraction that has continued to help Iceland's economy recover.

In 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland experienced several violent eruptions, producing a large amount of volcanic ash, causing the evacuation of 800 local residents, and even causing most of the Nordic countries to close their airspace and ground flights.

The global media scrambled to report the incident, leaving the impression of "Iceland is so dangerous!" in the minds of tourists. In order to save the sluggish tourism industry, Iceland Tourism Board decided to launch the "Inspired by Iceland (inspired by Iceland)" campaign.

On June 3, 2010, Iceland stopped working for one hour, and one-third of the residents, including the Prime Minister, took videos of themselves dancing in Iceland to all over the world.

The event also invited celebrities such as Yoko Ono and more than 400 Icelandic tourists to tell the stories between themselves and Iceland; at the same time, advertisements were placed in Paris, London and other places, so that people could see through live broadcast that Iceland was not swallowed by volcanoes. Most of it is still safe and beautiful.

It was more of a PR crisis that was forced to deal with than a proactive marketing campaign.

To everyone's surprise, "Inspired by Iceland" worked so well that the project became a long-term plan that continues to this day. The Icelandic Tourism Board continues to promote Iceland's natural scenery, culture and art, music and food to tourists around the world through social networks, and even later helped the tourism industry surpass the fishing industry and the aluminum industry to become Iceland's largest industry.

In 2015, the Icelandic Tourism Board launched the "Ask Guðmundur" campaign, claiming to be "the world's first human flesh search engine".

Guðmundur is a very common name in Iceland, and the event collects people's curious questions about Iceland through social networks and asks seven Icelanders named Guðmundur to answer them.

Such activities make people feel that Iceland is not a cold place, but a warm and humane place.

In 2017, the Icelandic Tourism Board also released the world's most difficult KTV song "The A-Ö of Iceland" , with lyrics mixed in English and Icelandic, popularizing various interesting local knowledge, and inviting people to challenge and sing along .

The video has more than 14.87 million views on YouTube, causing viral spread. Netizens say that they will play it, but the Icelandic language is really hot.

According to data from the Iceland Tourism Board , the number of foreign tourists arriving in Iceland from 2011 to 2017 increased in a curve, with an annual growth rate of at least 15%, and a maximum of 39%.

In 2018, the number of foreign tourists visiting Iceland peaked at 2.34 million, roughly more than six times the population of Iceland. As of 2019, tourism revenue accounted for 42% of Iceland's economy.

▲ Picture from CNN

With the increase of foreign tourists, Iceland once caused a controversy of "over-tourism": the prosperity of tourism has brought prices and housing prices up, the lives of local residents have been affected, and they are also worried about the destruction of the ecological environment.

Justin Bieber filmed the MV for the song "I'll Show You" in a canyon in Iceland , and the crowds wreaked havoc on the fragile vegetation due to the large number of fans who came to check in. In 2019, the Icelandic Environment Agency had to close the canyon, refusing to visit.

▲ Tourists who turn a blind eye to the no-entry placard, pictured by Iceland Magazine

On the one hand, the Icelandic government allocated funds to improve the facility construction of tourist attractions, and on the other hand, it also launched a series of "Icelandic Academy" activities, hoping to introduce precautions in a humorous way and guide tourists to travel responsibly.

For example, don't walk on moss, because they take decades to grow; it is not recommended to wear jeans in Iceland, because it will be wet and cold in rainy days; and, no matter how beautiful the aurora is, remember not to take pictures in the middle of the road, etc. .

They even packaged the free Icelandic tap water for direct drinking into a non-existent luxury brand "Kranavatn" , hoping to use creativity to remind tourists to avoid buying plastic bottled water and reduce the production of disposable waste.

Iceland Tourism Director Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir said that Iceland's tourism marketing in recent years has mainly focused on three aspects: encouraging tourists to visit all year round, visiting attractions across the country, and responsible tourism.

In the past, people liked to visit Iceland in the warmer summer, and they liked to get together to go to popular attractions. Now, Iceland will also track tourists’ interests through data surveys and guide them through various creative marketing.

Of course, Iceland's global popularity isn't just due to the tourism board.

In fact, in addition to being a tourist destination, Iceland's movies, music, thoroughbred horses, seafood, and Iceland's sustainable solutions have all been included in the government's promotion projects.

▲ The national bird of Iceland, the puffin, from Unsplash

Share a trivia: When recording music or filming in Iceland, 25% of the local production costs are refundable with government funding.

As more and more musicians such as Björk and Sigur Rós became popular around the world, it was gradually discovered that Iceland was not only infused with ethereal psychedelics, but also had a side of classical, folk, pop and even rock.

The topography of Iceland is very suitable for shooting medieval scenes, and it can also appear as a post-apocalyptic earth or a planet in a distant galaxy… Every film and television drama filmed here increases the popularity of Iceland and brings a deeper culture. mean.

▲ "Game of Thrones" stills

▲ "Interstellar" stills

In Iceland, there are already well-established tour routes for "Game of Thrones".

Today, we are tired of punch-in travel, especially after the epidemic, the idea of ​​starting to take pictures of concave shapes seems powerless and boring. We prefer that every trip can have some special experience, or only once in a lifetime, or live like a local, or slow down to understand a city.

The beauty of natural scenery alone is far from enough to attract tourists. This is also the reason why Iceland has sharpened its head and spoofed tourism marketing for 12 years.

In a presentation, Daði Guðjónsson, Head of Brand and Marketing Strategy at Business Iceland, pointed out that Iceland's tourism marketing campaign has the wisdom of the Vikings 1,000 years ago, and their success lies in "putting people first".

Our most successful campaigns come from putting people first. Connect people with other people. Tell people's stories. Let people tell our stories.

To put it bluntly, behind the Icelandic humor, in addition to the manipulation of social media swiping, there is also an insight into people. Use some small humorous ideas to create memory points, resonate with you emotionally, and add some motivation to your finger to book Iceland air tickets——

If 1 reason isn't enough, I'll give you 2, 3, 4. If one screen refresh is not enough, then do it a second time, a third time, and a fourth time.​

▲ Picture from Unsplash

Do you want to start a trip to Iceland when the epidemic is over?

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