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Björn Borg drops undies in North Korea

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Björn Borg drops undies in North Korea
A pair of seductive Björn Borg undies looking out on Pyongyang. Photo: Björn Borg
16:47 CET+01:00
In October Swedish brand Björn Borg pledged to drop 450 pairs of undies onto one city in the world, and when the Pyongyang won the vote the underwear king went undercover to get the job done.

The focal point of Björn Borg’s autumn campaign ‘Björn Borg says JA! to Weapons of Mass Seducton’ was The Drop, a scheme to “love bomb” underwear onto the city voted most in need of some love and seduction.

"We couldn’t even imagine a place like North Korea would win,” Lina Söderqvist, marketing director at Björn Borg, told The Local. "We had planned how we would pursue an airdrop, and we could have done it almost anywhere in the world – except North Korea."

Just over a week into the campaign, The Drop's website experienced a traffic surge from South Korea. The North Korean capital sky-rocketed in the poll, gaining more than 25,000 votes overnight. By the poll’s end on October 31st, more than 53,000 people around the world had taken part in the vote, and 60 percent went to Pyongyang.

"It was impossible to do an airdrop in North Korea," Söderqvist told The Local. "Someone would get hurt. But we had promised to deliver our underwear to the winner, and the world voted for North Korea. And we thought, who are we to say no? We’ve been given this mission, by the world. So let’s do it."

The solution? Sending in an undercover journalist. Björn Borg hired a journalist, whose name is withheld for security reasons, to give out the underwear by hand in Pyongyang.

“We also sent a package of underwear to the embassy, but it didn’t arrive and we don’t know why,” Söderqvist said, adding that the seductive undies might have been seized by the state.

The Swedish infiltrator was only allowed to bring one suitcase, which he stuffed with 150 pairs of bright pink camo-print underwear. He went to Pyongyang on a tourist visa and was accompanied at all times by two North Korean “guides”, to whom he also gave underwear.

“Conditions for performing this task are… not ideal,” the journalist wrote on his anonymous blog documenting the experience. “The only time when I was left alone today was for one minute down in the Pyongyang Metro, but I felt that taking out pink underwear and taking photos down there could have serious consequences, so I decided not to do it.”

While he did manage to give out all of the underwear from his suitcase, not a single recipient dared to get their picture taken with the underwear, the journalist reported on the blog. In a desperate attempt to spread more seduction he resorted to dropping underwear in the hotel corridor – and even throwing it out the window of his room on the 41st floor.

“I wish I could be there when someone finds the gifts I put out on the street,” he signed off on his blog. “In any case, I’m sure the recipients of our gifts will have use for them, and that their new Weapons of Mass Seduction will do more good than the thousands of actual weapons in circulation here.”

In the meantime, Björn Borg’s website keeps getting hit by South Korean visitors, and the company has decided to give back the love. “We’re planning on translating some of our site into South Korean,” Söderqvist told The Local. “We’re not planning on doing distribution there in the near future, but who knows? It may come.”

After South Korea, the country with the most votes for needing more love and seduction was Sweden, with Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg in second place, and the Swedish Left Party in third.

Solveig Rundquist

Follow Solveig on Twitter

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