Icelandair releases new gay commercial

A gay couple traveling around Iceland, taking in its nature and culture, are the protagonists of a new video advertisement from Icelandair. The company’s brand manager says it’s natural and important to show diversity.

Jón Skafti Kristjánsson, brand manager at Icelandair a customer-oriented airline and travel service company serving 44 gateways in Europe and the U.S.

“Icelandair’s customers are as diverse as they are many. We think it’s only natural to reflect that in our marketing material and therefore aim for a marketing approach that reaches certain groups and is suitable for certain media,” explains Jón Skafti Kristjánsson, brand manager at Icelandair.

“This ad portrays a cultural trip to Iceland and the group it’s aimed at is people who travel to enjoy what life has to offer with their loved ones. So it was an obvious choice to use a loving middle-aged couple for such an ad; it’s worked well for us in the past. But this time we thought: why not add to the diversity and make this loving, middle-aged couple a same-sex couple?”

The ad is part of a series and will be shown on social media in all of Icelandair’s marketing areas abroad, promoting the experience of visiting Iceland. Jón Skafti points out that gay models have been used in the company’s advertisement before, but when promoting special package tours to Iceland or when publishing in specific media.

He says this ad is not aimed specifically at queer people. “We just think it’s natural and normal for advertisement to portray diversity. LGBTI+ people enjoy travelling just as much as others, of course. In fact, they might have a slightly higher frequency in traveling than other groups.”

Big companies and corporations are often criticized for jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to social issues, trying to appeal to marginalized groups to promote their business and make money. Jón Skafti dismisses this notion, pointing out that Icelandair has a long history of backing causes.

“We’re a company that has, through the years, been involved in our society. We’ve run a charity fund for long-term ill children since 2003 and been sponsors of sports, music, design and other cultural events. Most recently, we’ve made a clear statement regarding gender inequality in sports by airing a new TV ad for UEFA Women’s Euro. But I think we can also show social responsibility by challenging a little the stereotypes that are so often portrayed in advertisement. Businesses produce so much of the images that are being portrayed all around us and we know that they influence people’s opinions and self-image, so we have every intention of keeping reflecting our customers’ diversity in our marketing material.”

“We’re a company that has … run a charity fund for long-term ill children since 2003 and been sponsors of sports, music, design and other cultural events … I think we can also show social responsibility by challenging a little the stereotypes that are so often portrayed in advertisement.”

In return, media have often been criticized for flaunting Iceland as a queer haven but Jón Skafti says the aim is not to promote Iceland as a destination especially for LGBTI+ people.

“It’s not exactly our goal to cosset this image but here’s the reality of it: queer people tend to travel to Iceland because of the country’s reputation, and therefore often travel with Icelandair. Some of them are couples coming from countries where they can’t even hold hands in public and the acceptance that’s prominent here in Iceland is kind of liberating for people who are not used to that in their home countries. We’re simply portraying Icelandic society the way it is.”

The ad is part of a series and will be shown on social media in all of Icelandair’s marketing areas abroad.

And he stresses that the ad isn’t aimed specifically at the LGBTI+ community. “We just think it’s natural and normal for advertisement to portray diversity. LGBTI+ people enjoy travelling just as much as the next person, of course. To be honest, we didn’t intend to create an ad that would only appeal to gay people, although it is likely to raise special interest amongst them. The target group is simply middle aged people who are interested in foreign culture and enjoying life with their spouses. Queer people are obviously a portion of that target group. But of course, queer couples tend to feel freer to be themselves in Iceland compared to some other countries.”

What is perhaps most notable about this particular ad is that even though the characters in it are gay, they’re not the stereotypical, extravagant gay men so often portrayed in adverts: tanned, muscular young men dressed to the nines with stylized hair, dancing to Lady Gaga tunes till dawn.

“The target group for this particular ad isn’t young people wanting to party. It’s part of a series to promote a service we call Points and Money, where the individual ads are aimed at different target groups. The target groups we want to reach through this campaign reflect our existing customer group that are members of Icelandair Saga Club. With this particular ad we wanted to tell the story

“We just think it’s natural and normal for advertisement to portray diversity.”

of a traveling couple who enjoy spending time together, exploring Icelandic nature and culture. We then have other ads in this series where we focus on other cities and different activities, such as seeing a show in the theatre, shopping trips, visiting museums and trying out new restaurants.”

The ads for Icelandair are made in collaboration with advertising agency Íslenska auglýsingastofan which hired complete amateurs to appear in the ad – men who are not even used to modelling – GayIceland’s chief editor himself, Roald Viðar Eyvindsson, and his husband and partner of 19 years, Sigurþór Gunnlaugsson.

And Jón Skafti says it adds an extra something to the ad. “We’re really happy with the outcome and especially the parts of Roald and Sigurþór, they absolutely fit the roles.  They did really well and I think the fact that they’re a couple in reality was a big factor. The profound love between them can be seen and it transmits onto the screen.”

He adds that during the process, he’s noticed much interest in the fact that Icelandair cast a gay couple in their ad. “It definitely reminds us of what a limited view of the world adverts tend to portray, and that we need to change that.”

For the sake of visibility

“We were of course very flattered when the casting agency (Snyrtilegur klæðnaður) reached out to us, but to tell you the truth we were also a bit surprised. Since neither of us has experience of standing in front of a camera, at least very little experience, and also because neither of us fits the image of what would typically be considered a model. We’re just two very regular guys, in a long term relationship. And not in our twenties anymore. But as it turned out that’s exactly what they were looking for,” says Roald, when asked what his and Sigurþórs reactions were when they were asked to be in this ad.

GayIceland’s chief editor, Roald Eyvindsson, hopes to see more Icelandic companies produce LGBTI inclusive ads.

“I actually thought that Roald was kidding at first, when he told me over the phone that the company had contacted him,” admits Sigurþór. “Yeah, you were really surprised,” says Roald and smiles to his husband.

“But when I realised you were serious I gave it a thought, we both did,” Sigurþór adds. “And then we decided to do go for it.”

Why?
“For the sake of visibility,” Roald says with determination. “Even though, sadly, we still don’t have any research detailing the quantity and quality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans characters in Icelandic movies, TV programs, ads and so on, I think it’s safe to say that there is still lack of such presentation; a lack of diversity here. Despite the fact that things are moving into the right direction, especially this year with the release of several Icelandic LGBTI inclusive films, TV shows and ads. So that’s the main reason why we decided to take part in this project; we want to help increase the visibility of LGBTI+ characters in film, TV and the media – not only in Iceland but also worldwide since the ad is being released overseas.”

“We also liked the fact that the company wanted gay people for the parts,” says Sigurþór. “We really liked the authenticity in the approach they took.”

Roald nods and continues: “Besides that, Icelandair is on a very good path, having recently released a commercial for the European Women’s Championship in Football 2017, which depicts the ordeals that many girls have to go through in order to become professional football players. I think that ad, and now this one, really shows good intention and I hope that more companies here in

“… that’s the main reason why we decided to take part in this project; we want to help increase the visibility of LGBTI+ characters in film, TV and the media.”

Iceland will follow suit, and start making more LGBTI+ inclusive ads. At the moment I do think we’re on the right track when it comes to gay characters, but so far I don’t remember seeing trans, intersex or non-binary characters, for example, which is not good enough.”

“What was it like, acting in such a big TV ad?
“It was a great experience,” says Sigurþór. “The crew, director Eilífur Örn from production company SNARK, camera-man Hilmir Berg Ragnarsson from Íslenska auglýsingastofan and Andri Dagur, who helped with everything from driving us between several locations in the country to carrying equipment to making sure that everyone was in a good mood, were all really professional. It was an absolute pleasure to work with them.”

Sigurþór Gunnlaugsson liked the fact that Icelandair wanted gay people for the roles.

“Yes, they were fantastic to work with and that made the whole process easy and fun. We got to go horse-riding, which I haven’t done properly in years, and go see all these tourist destinations, which reminded me just how beautiful Iceland is and what it is that attracts people from all around the world to our country,” says Roald.

“One of the more memorable moments for me, personally, was when we shot some scenes at Laugarvatn Fontana, which is built on natural springs,” Sigurþór recalls. “And in particular a swimming pool scene where we hug in the water, hold hands and show each other affection. Because it’s something we’re not used to doing much of in public.”

“Yeah, we were a little bit shy to begin with,” says Roald and chuckles. “But Eilífur, the director, kept on urging us to do more,” adds Sigurþór. “So in the end we were locked together almost like Siamese twins!”

“You could say that the experience was somewhat a couple’s therapy,” Roald says and laughs. Sigurþór smiles. “No, but seriously, we’re just really happy about the whole experience. We don’t know how much there will be of us in the final cut, our faces that is, since we haven’t seen the ad yet. But from what we gather it’s supposed to be more focused on the atmosphere and surroundings than us.”

“Besides, the point was never to see our faces on the screen,” Roald points out. “It has always been about taking part in a wonderful project that will hopefully help increase representation of LGBTI+ people in the media, not only Iceland, but worldwide.”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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