Promote Iceland: Enough to make anyone scream?

icelandWith travel bans being lifted faster than you can say “get me to the airport”, every nation is planning their own unique way of attracting those who a) haven’t already splashed the cash on a staycation b) have actually managed to get a refund from the holiday they booked in January or c) have been squirrelling the cash away while on furlough.

It is into this somewhat limited market that Iceland has been plunged. No, not the frozen food chain famous for employing Kerry Katona, Coleen Nolan, Jason Donovan, Stacy Solomon and Peter Andre; the actual country, birthplace of such luminaries as Björk Guðmundsdóttir, Gylfi Sigurðsson, Eiður Guðjohnsen, and, of course, the late Magnus Magnusson.

But it is fair to say that Promote Iceland is taking a rather “left-field” stance with its new multimarket campaign, inviting the world to let out their frustrations into its vast and beautiful landscapes to relieve tensions and feel renewed.

The activity, devised by M&C Saatchi Group under the strapline “Looks like you need to let it out”, aims to position Iceland as a desirable destination and make it top-of-mind as people start to book holidays again. It is the first work to launch since Promote Iceland appointed the agency earlier this year and will run across the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Denmark.

Inspired by the practice of “scream therapy”, the campaign urges consumers to visit a dedicated website to record their own screams, yells and shouts which will then be released through speakers located in seven stunning and remote locations across the island.

As the blurb explains: “From the peak of Festarfjall in Reykjanes Peninsula, the tranquil shores of Djúpivogur in East Iceland to the roaring Skógarfoss waterfall in the south, participants can choose from seven locations in Iceland where their scream is released before seeing and hearing it in realtime via a live stream of screams.”

As part of the campaign, a “quirky” 60-second film, directed by award-winning Icelandic duo Samuel and Gunnar through Skot Productions, depicts people stuck at home in now-familiar lockdown scenarios: bombarded by bad news, cutting their own hair, doing jigsaws and forced to celebrate their birthdays alone.

One by one, they take the opportunity to scream out their pent-up frustrations, seeing their screams released into Iceland’s beautiful landscapes.

M&C Saatchi Group has also worked with Promote Iceland to develop, coordinate and manage the PR and influencer campaign to support the launch and sustain period across all key global markets, featuring influencers who have been affected by lockdown frustration, and global research that looks into how lockdown has impacted our lives.

The head of Visit Iceland Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir seems pretty happy with the end result. She said: “Across the world, people have been through a lot in the last few months. We empathise and want to do what we can to help people relieve their frustrations.

“In Iceland, we are lucky enough to have vast open spaces and beautiful nature that is the perfect place to let out frustrations. We feel this is just what the world needs. And when people are ready to resume traveling, they can come and experience it for themselves.”

M&C Saatchi senior art director Ieva Paulina is equally chuffed: “Most of us are getting a bit stir crazy at this point, and wishing we could travel to the places we love. We can all relate to that feeling of release when you’ve been able to let out your frustrations and get something off your chest. And what better place to do that than Iceland? It’s a really magical, healing place – we wanted to bring that to life for everyone stuck at home.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Will we be rushing to record our screams of frustration and then jump on a plane to the Land of Ice and Fire – one of the coldest countries in the world at the height of summer? Do we actually feel the need to “let it all out” in the first place? And, if so, will Icelanders be that welcoming once we step off said plane and scream about how chilly it is?

That’s a no, no and an unlikely from us.

The thing is, while we applaud the effort, sadly the idea is flawed and all you end up with is a very annoying ad full of people screaming their heads off, which not only detracts from the “beautiful landscapes”, it gives you a bloody headache to boot. Björk will probably love it though…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A chilly yet fiery 6½ out of 10

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