Norway is something of a world leader in the analysis of fake news. For example, its six largest media companies jointly produce a website which challenges fake and inaccurate reporting head-on. Can you imagine the Daily Mail working with the Express, Star, and Sun to do that in the UK? Exactly.
The country’s reputation, however, has been tested by a recent development. The Visit Norway tourist agency has distanced itself from the supposed story of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island which has decided to become a “time-free zone”. The residents, according to VN’s press releases, have decided to ditch clocks and watches, and live by dawn and dusk.
However, national and trade press have cried BS on the affair, claiming that a government agency releasing such a questionable campaign runs counter to the image that its media companies would like to portray.
It has not boded well for Håkon Haugli, the new director of VN parent organisation Innovation Norway, who had to apologise after a wave of negativity engulfed the announcement. The spend on the campaign was relatively small: just under NOK500,000 or around £50k.
However, this is not the end. Even after Visit Norway’s termination of the project, islander Kjell Ove Hveding has continued to push the view that the island does indeed have a “no-time zone”, and it was VN which misjudged the campaign rather than Sommarøy painting a false picture of its residents.
Whether such a campaign was worth it, is up to you to decide. That said, we do love the idea of a no-time zone; imagine having meetings whenever you feel like it, or being relaxed about deadlines, and getting into work whenever you like. If you don’t like the PR, we’re hoping that the Norwegians are onto something.