How Iceland’s creative approach boosted tourism

While other countries lean into their beautiful landscapes, Iceland’s unconventional approach to promoting tourism taps into the national wit and character. We uncover how and why it works

In July 2020, as the world dealt with the seemingly unending frustration of Covid, Business Iceland invited people everywhere to scream it out. Sick of yet another jigsaw? Given yourself a terrible home haircut? Send your screeches of desperation to the Looks Like You Need Iceland website, and they would be released to remote locations across the country.

The campaign – made by SS+K, part of the M&C Saatchi network, in partnership with Reykjavik creative agency Peel – is a typically quirky bit of creative from the Inspired by Iceland initiative, which has been running for the last decade and particularly came to life during the pandemic.

While many brands and organisations opted for messages of solidarity or reassurance, Inspired by Iceland instead turned towards humour. As well as addressing some of the more ludicrous aspects of lockdown, it later tapped into other recent themes in the zeitgeist, including the metaverse. All this was carefully filtered through a lens that was firmly Icelandic and led to millions of views and shares, at a time when tourism in real life was largely halted.