The Danes have done it again. The travel company behind Do it for Denmark, the ad watched by eight million people on YouTube that urges Danes to procreate for their country, has launched another video. This time, it is encouraging Danes to lie back and think of their mothers in a bid to make more grandchildren, in Do it for Mom.
A white-haired woman in her 60s sits on a park bench, looking wistfully at a grandmother feeding the ducks with her granddaughter. A John Lewis ad-style voiceover tells us: “You were there when your son learned to walk …” (cue footage of mother and son through the decades) “… you were there when he learned how to ride a bike. And when he learned how to read. But when it comes to making children, it might be a bit awkward to help out …” At this point, we cut to a man and a woman in their underwear enjoying a passionate embrace while Denmark’s answer to June Whitfield tiptoes in and gives her son a hand removing his partner’s bra.
And yes, it’s just as weird as it sounds.
The video is the brainchild of strategist Søren Christensen and his team atRobert/Boisen & Like-minded advertising agency, which was commissioned bySpies Travel. Eva Lundgren, the head of marketing at Spies, says: “We have a problem with the low birthrate in Denmark, and a recent survey [conducted by Epinion Denmark 2015] confirmed that a lot of women in their 60s worry about not having any grandchildren. They are generally happy with their lives[Denmark has the happiest female retirees in the world], but they would just love grandkids. We wanted a new angle to promote our holidays, so this seemed an interesting fit.”
Christensen adds: “A lot of my friends and colleagues are in their 30s and 40s and we’ve all felt pressure from our mums, in particular, to get on with it and have children. So we knew it was an issue.” But rather than getting morose about the state of the nation, Lundgren and Christensen took a lighter approach. “We were actually inspired by thegreatschlep.com,” says Lundgren, “where Sarah Silverman made a video to tell Jewish kids to visit their grandparents and persuade them to vote Obama. It was funny, but it really got the message across, too. And we thought: ‘Maybe we could take the same approach here.’” So they did.
“Don’t despair!” the voiceover reassures broody would-be grandmothers in the new video. “We may have found the solution.” Danish June has a eureka moment, and we splice to slow-motion footage of a bikini-clad blonde in her 30s heaving herself out of a swimming pool to greet an appreciative and similarly attractive man in trunks. What follows is a Carry On-worthy montage of the young couple engaging in various innuendo-laden, suggestive sporting activities. The voiceover reminds us that we have 51% more sex on a sunny holiday; are more aroused when we exercise, and even more likely to conceive – all of which will lead to more babies, AKA grandchildren.
Danish June seems to know all this instinctively, and so opens up her laptop (Danish pensioners are among the most tech-savvy in the world) and books her son an action-packed break. The tagline: “Send your child on an active getaway, get a grandchild in nine months!” (a disclaimer, “delivery not guaranteed,” is added in parenthesis). The film continues with the couple, played by actor Emilia Liva Huusfeldt and her real-life boyfriend, climaxing after a particularly high-impact workout. Shortly afterwards, Danish June can be seen clutching a newborn before joining hoards of would-be grannies waving off a plane, presumably filled with other offspring.
“The video was only released on 30 September but we’ve already had a huge response,” says Lundgren. “In a population of just 5.5 million, it has been watched by two million Danes so far and most people love it.” The Do it forDenmark campaign saw sales of Spies breaks up 39.8% – and Denmark’s birthrate even rose slightly in 2014, “which of course we’re putting down to our campaign,” jokes Christensen. He adds: “We’ll just have to see if we can get it up again this year …”