Cheeky Ad Helps World Separate Sweden, Switzerland

No, they are not the same, as Visit Sweden so artfully explains
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2023 6:33 AM CDT

President Biden made headlines when he mixed up Sweden and Switzerland last year. But he's not the only one. Apparently the countries' "vaguely similar names and flags with crosses on them" have created quite the confusion, per Politico. In the last year, 85,000 US Google searches asked, "Are Sweden and Switzerland the same?" according to data cited by Forbes. And in a recent survey commissioned by Visit Sweden, half of US respondents couldn't differentiate Swedish and Swiss culture. Thankfully, the tourism agency is now offering a solution. "We can't change the names of our nations, but we can become more distinct," CEO Susanne Andersson says in a press release accompanying a new ad which, in addition to poking fun at Biden, seeks to differentiate the two countries.

The video, titled "Welcome to Sweden (not Switzerland)," finds a Swedish official standing at a podium, holding a newspaper with a headline referencing the president's mix-up. The official then offers Switzerland a "proposition" about which topics it can and cannot discuss. Sweden proposes that Switzerland gets to promote banks, mountaintops, and "loud noises such as yodeling," while Sweden gets to promote sandbanks, roof tops (think bars and restaurants), and "silence and a lack of yodeling." Switzerland will continue to "offer luxury, including expensive watches," while Sweden will "offer a different kind of luxury, like forgetting about time."

Sweden's campaign is clearly aimed at boosting the country as a paradise for lovers of nature and quiet, drawing attention to its nearly 2,000 miles of coastline and more than 100,000 lakes. The Swedish website also contrasts Switzerland's gold reserves with Sweden's "forest gold" Chantarelle mushrooms, and its "spectacular light shows made with projections and LEDs" with the Swedish spectacle of the Northern Lights, per Euronews. "As long as both tourism organizations stick to this division in all communication with the outside world, the confusion should come to an end," Sweden proposes, per the outlet. Politico notes "Slovenia and Slovakia were unavailable for comment." (More Sweden stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.