'Land of Chlamydia.' 7-Eleven condom ad ribs Norway over venereal diseases

'Land of Chlamydia.' 7-Eleven condom ad ribs Norway over venereal diseases
'Land of Chlamydia.' 7-Eleven condom ad ribs Norway over venereal diseases

At first glance the poster appears to show off Norway's finest - snow-capped mountains, a crystalline fjord, a man and woman wearing traditional garb.

But the words above their heads proclaim: "Welcome to Norway! The Land of Chlamydia."

And then, in the smaller print below, it reads: "Norway has one of the highest rates of chlamydia in Europe. Visiting from abroad? Make sure to protect yourself against the locals! Get your condoms at the nearest 7-Eleven."

A new 7-Eleven ad campaign in Norway has riled up tourism officials and some of the locals there.

The ads make Norwegians "seem like uncouth, lewd, sex-mad people,” Stein Ove Rolland, marketing developer for Visit Norway, told Dagbladet newspaper. “This is not a good advert for Norway, and as a depiction of Norway and Norwegians it is a disaster."

John Oliver took a comedic shot at the campaign on Sunday's episode of "Last Week Tonight," too.

"Holy (bleep)," Oliver said. "O.K., 7-Eleven. You can't just call Norway the land of chlamydia, because that's opening yourself up to a class action lawsuit from Las Vegas, Tampa, and the wave pool at every water park."

According to The Local newspaper, the posters are currently displayed at Oslo Central Station, "making it likely to be one of the first sights to greet tourists upon arrival in the Scandinavian country."

7-Eleven also made a video, posted on the 7-Eleven Norge Facebook page with this cheeky warning: "Visiting Norway? Here’s a souvenir you don’t want to bring home!"

The video describes Norway as "the land of the fjords, the mountains, and chlamydia," and cautions that "Norway has one of the highest rates of chlamydia in Europe. Visiting from abroad? Protect yourself against the locals! Get your condoms at 7-Eleven."

Thea Kjendlie, communications manager for Reitan Convenience that owns 7-Elevens in the country, told the U.K.'s Express that there are stores in all the largest cities in Norway.

“Because we are located in central areas and have long opening hours, it is common that people spontaneously pop in to buy condoms," Kjendlie said. “More than 70 percent of the condoms we sell are sold during the late hours. However, the statistics show that we should be selling much more.”

Kampanje magazine, which covers the media and advertising in Norway, says 7-Eleven is supported by statistics from Norway's Sex and Society center - the country's largest center for sexual and reproductive health and rights - which in 2015 said that only Denmark and Iceland have more reported cases of chlamydia than Norway.

Last month the country's Public Health Directorate launched its own advertising campaign that used blunt, raw language to promote the use of condoms as the most efficient protection against STDs and unwanted pregnancy, according to Sputnik News.

"It benefits 7-Eleven when they are launching an English advertising campaign for their condoms, encouraging tourists to protect themselves from the locals," Kampanje magazine writes.

Kjendlie told the media magazine that health officials have tried to get Norwegians to be better about using condoms by talking "to" them. "Therefore, we are now trying to get the message through by talking about Norwegians - to someone else," she said, acknowledging that using humor to warn tourists about Norwegians might bruise the national ego a bit.

Tourism officials might not like the ad. But Tore Holte Follestad, assistant manager of sexual health with the country's Sex and Society center, said national health officials should run a similar campaign themselves.

"I think it conveys an important message in a non-judgmental manner and it is noticed," he told the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

He also said 7-Eleven is right about chlamydia being something to worry about in Norway, given more than 26,000 cases diagnosed in 2016. He told Dagbladet that Norwegians are not good at using condoms.

7-Eleven's Kjendlie told Dagbladet the company is not trying to slam Norway.

"As with all the controversial campaigns, positive and negative reactions will occur," she said. "We have so far experienced both, and it is as expected when our goal is for our young target audience to talk about the topic."

This article was written by cool news network.

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