Sweden Is Proud That Living There Is Like Being a Spoiled Rich Man-Child

Odd ad celebrates opulent worker benefits

In America, you'd need to have a rich, overindulgent father to have the lifestyle of your average Swedish worker, says a bizarre new ad from a Swedish trade organization. 

TCO, an umbrella confederation that includes a number of unions, presents to you "Like a Swede," a three-and-a-half-minute ode to the many benefits—like long vacations and employer pensions—enjoyed by Swedish employees. 

The story is told, quite surreally, through character Joe Williams, a resident of Beverly Hills. His dad, also his boss, treats him to six weeks of annual vacation and six months of paternity leave. Williams all-around enjoys a life of opulence thanks to his decision to live "like a Swede."

For the uninitiated, living like a Swede means using your friskvårdskbidraget, a Swedish health-care stipend, to hire a celebrity personal trainer—but only for a few minutes a year, because, you know, such social support only goes so far. It also includes playing kubb, a Swedish lawn game involving the tossing of wooden sticks; drinking nubbe, a Swedish liquor; and, we're told, singing a song about how the Swedish labor negotiation model is the greatest.

In other words, Swedes are, in a roundabout way, poking fun at Swedes for being spoiled. Credit for their advantages, the spot sort of explains, goes to the Swedish model of labor negotiations, which depends on a high level of collaboration between workers and employees groups and limited government involvement. 

If you're still totally clueless as to what the hell is actually going on, a spokesperson for TCO sheds some light on the campaign in English-language European publication The Local. "It's to make the Swedish Model more visible in a different way. People often know very little about it, which makes it harder for the unions to justify their own existence," says the spokesperson. "The Swedish Model means that the two parties can talk about what is needed in that particular industry, and be supple, rather than have very rigid legislation that we don't think is good for the Swedish economy."

The spot is one of the most intricately produced awareness ads you'll ever see. But if you're a non-Swede like me, by the time you're done unraveling it, you'll probably be too exhausted to laugh.

Via Ads of the World.