• Sweden edition
 

Swedish Armed Forces rejects ad films criticism

Published: 15 Jun 2010 15:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jun 2010 15:20 GMT+02:00

National service comes to an end in Sweden on June 30th, and a recruitment drive launched to attract new voluntary recruits has come in for criticism for allegedly painting a false picture of life in the armed forces.

The Swedish defence forces have spent a 25 million kronor on a new campaign of films featuring the challenge: "We are waiting for your opinion on our work, if you have what it takes to have one".

Fredrik Svahn at the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) told The Local on Tuesday that the films should not however be seen as a recruitment drive for a military career but should be seen more as a "discussion with the Swedish people".

"National service ends on June 30th and will be major major change with the first voluntary recruits admitted on August 15th. We want to open a discussion and invite opinions on the purpose of the Swedish Armed Forces," he said, while adding that the campaign website can also be used to apply for a job.

The three advertising films - for the army, navy and air force respectively - feature soldiers battling a forest fire, chasing Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, and pilots scrambling their jets to meet an incoming threat to Sweden's borders.

The films feature the typical dramatic fare served up by the UK and US armed forces to attract recruits, but in Sweden, with its 109-year history of compulsory national service and limited professionalism, they have come in for some criticism for romanticising the work of the military with comparisons made to the Die Hard films.

"They use Bruce Willis sequences to project an awesome operation and to tempt with employment. But this applies to young people's career choices for operations that may ultimately concern life or death. You should not use advertising gimmicks to address such serious issues," advertising expert Mats Ekdahl told the Svenska Dagbladet daily.

The air force film features a command centre and is dated "Ronneby 06:52", referring to the Swedish air force base in south-eastern Sweden, but like the other two films are in fact a backdrop filmed in South Africa, with local actors clad in Swedish military attire.

The depiction of a darkened room with radar screens and alarm bells sounding the alert is the stuff of fiction and the reality is far more mundane and perfunctory, the newspaper explains.

But Fredrik Svahn has rejected the accusations and argues that "these are commercials and not documentaries and we are under no obligation to present 100 percent reality."

Svahn said that logistical and budgetary concerns lay behind the decision to film the commercials in South Africa and he argued that they depict "a part of life as a soldier" although conceded that 90 percent of the military's work is done at home and is more routine.

"The films are based on the Armed Forces' description of operations and shows how extreme situations can look. The Gulf of Aden film for example shows exactly how we work," he said.

The Armed Forces has so far received 360,000 registered opinions in the ten days since the launch of the television and billboard campaign.

"We are happy with the response, which has both been positive and negative," Svahn said adding, "I think the criticism (of the campaign) is unjustified, it is not as if we have used humour."

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:17 June 15, 2010 by SouthAfrican_in_Sweden
Wonder why they are filming in South Africa...?
18:08 June 15, 2010 by voiceofreason
Many might be tempted to join the army just to earn a pay check or to prove a point i.e. feminists but the truth better be told. Life in the military commits you to defend the country with your life without any objection when such a time arises.
18:40 June 15, 2010 by Kevtravels
@voiceofreason, Well lucky for them Sweden is tightly safe in Northern Europe surrounded by NATO countries who more than likely would aid them in any fight.

What I wonder is why they did not feature ads with Swedish peacekeepers? I'm sure that would attract more than the idea of the army used to fight fires.
21:49 June 15, 2010 by Carbarrister
I think the "new" Swedish military needs to define its mission - which requires poitical input- and then fill its ranks with the kinds of recruits that will meet the needs, i.e., is it going to be essentially a uniformed civil service like the post office or will it engage in serious military missions and need to weed out recruits who can't meet the standards.
22:12 June 15, 2010 by DAVID T
when was the last time sweden had a war?
00:43 June 16, 2010 by Avidror
The last war fought by Sweden was the 1814 Swedish-Norwegian War. Read here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish-Norwegian_War_(1814)

There was a Swedish involvement in peacekeeping operations since there, but it didn't consist of total wars in its own territory.
00:48 June 16, 2010 by Avidror
By the way, Flygvapnet's film would attract much more people if it had shown the Gripens in action.
08:36 June 16, 2010 by norcalNisse
Uh... what does the message mean? Are they saying you can't have an opinion about them unless you're one of them? Really??
Today's headlines
Police seeking missing Swede in London
Sofie Marie Jansson, who is currently missing in London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

771
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com