Svala might not have managed to melt the hearts of Europeans during last night’s Eurovision qualifiers, but Icelandair managed to turn on the tear faucet of many Icelanders.
During one of the commercial breaks the airline ran a slick ad, which tells the story of a series of young girls in the not so distant past. It opens with a girl standing on the sidelines of a football pitch watching her brother and his male friends play—with her not allowed to take part.
The ad plays on the double standard placed on the sexes with a Christmas scene showing a girl’s brother receiving a pair of football boots, while she, visibly disappointed, opens up a present containing glittery ballet shoes.
The girl, however, undeterred nicks the boots from her brother and follows her dream of becoming a footballer. By the end of it is revealed that the ad tells the story of footballers of the women’s national football team with record goal scorer Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir looking intently into the camera..
Last summer during the 2016 Euros, the Icelandic men’s national football team became living legends and the only word acceptable in polite conversation became “HÚH!”. However, when it comes to the women’s team, the buzz seems somewhat more restrained. In fact, you could be forgiven for being unaware that the women’s team begins its third consecutive Euro campaign on July 18 (I didn’t even know we had a women’s national team).
No more dirty weekends
It is always a bit cringe worthy when large corporations jump on the bandwagon of a good cause, but Icelandair should be celebrated for running an ad with an empowering message. Especially in light of their classic early naughties “Fancy a Dirty Weekend in Iceland?” campaign, which ran with tag-lines such as: “One Night Stand in Reykjavík” and “Miss Iceland Awaits.”
It seems sexism always sells, the only thing that changes is whether marketing departments are for or against it.