Visit Oslo ad

Visit Oslo takes a deadpan approach to tourism

A new ad from creative agency NewsLab offers an anti-advertising approach to promoting the Norwegian city, starring a very bored resident

We’re used to travel advertising being all white smiles, happy families and stock photography of the best views available. But there’s been a recognition in recent years that this can become a cliché, with everywhere ending up looking the same. Enter: humour in tourism. Yes, the glossy shots are still in there, but a dose of wit and irony will keep you watching.

Australia has done this for a while: jokily leaning into familiar traits about the country, with varying degrees of success; and Visit Sweden has offered a masterclass in recent years of slotting in shots of beautiful scenery while cracking jokes at the country’s expense. And now we have Visit Oslo, with a brilliant new spot starring a weary resident who shows us around the town in something resembling despair.

“Is it even a city?” he asks while simultaneously showing off Oslo’s mellow vibe perfectly, including the ability to swim in the centre of town, easily get a table in great restaurants, and check out Edvard Munch’s Scream (“It’s not exactly the Mona Lisa,” our hero sighs.)

It’s very funny but also speaks to a truism of life – it’s easy to get seduced by the bright lights of Paris and New York and not appreciate the unique pleasures of our own surroundings. Sometimes the less glitzy places have the best stuff, especially when you might run into a Norwegian king.