The Danish Road Safety Council has invoked the Scandinavian country's Viking past to convince its countrymen to wear helmets while on the road.
A new ad by the council titled "A helmet has always been a bright idea" humorously melts together the Danes' brutal historical past with their love of cycling, cleverly defusing some of the copouts people use to avoud wearing a helmet, including "I'm a careful cyclist", "It doesn't fit my style", and "It ruins my hair".
In the ad, stylised as a historical movie, the stalwart Viking chief Svend gives his men a pep talk ahead of their upcoming invasion of England, mounting his horse and waving his sword. As he rouses his men to their ships, his young son comes around with his helmet, which he stubbornly refuses to wear.
When challenged by his men, Svend resorts to fake excuses including "it's annoying and it makes my scalp itch", "I'm a careful rider", "What do I do when I get there? Run around in a silly helmet?", and lastly, seemingly vexed, "It ruins my braids!".
Only when his wife appears and in a peremptory manner declares: "You can loot and pillage all you want, Svend, but do wear a helmet", Svend grudgingly obeys and puts on his shiny headpiece, to the tacit concent of his army and an odd laughter, which instantly dies down. One of his men says assuringly: "I bet the Englishmen will wear helmets too". The Viking crew then proceeds to their longships in the safety of their headgear, and the title of the campaign, "A helmet has always been a bright idea", appears in runic script.
The video, filled with tongue-in-cheek humour, irony, and colourful characters, left the public delighted.
"Absolutely amazing advertising!", one viewer noted.
"Really good marketing! Thumbs up to your idea, guys!", another one concurred.
"Whoever came up with the idea behind this advertisement deserves a pay rise. Great idea and a cool and fun commercial!", yet another one cheered.
"World class advertising. The best I have seen to date in little Denmark", another happy viewer said.
While many historic and contemporary depictions of the Vikings display horned warriors, this is a deep-rooted misconception. There is only one preserved helmet from the Viking Age and it does not have horns. The scarcity of found helmets has two explanations. Either no tradition existed of placing them in graves or sacrificing them like spears and swords, or relatively few Vikings wore helmets as such.