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'Have an affair' bus ads anger Swedish commuters

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 15 Mar 2011, 15:05

Published: 15 Mar 2011 15:05 GMT+01:00

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Married travellers waiting for buses in Stockholm are currently being confronted with the challenge "Are you married? Liven up your life - have an affair" in the form of a billboard campaign from Norwegian firm Victoria Milan.

The billboard campaign is backed up by a film which encourages those feeling trapped and unhappy in their relationships to sign up for the dating site and find a like-minded clandestine soul mate.

But criticism of the firm's business idea and advertising message has quickly followed the weekend campaign launch, with the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen - RO) having already received complaints from three individuals.

Sigurd Vedal is the CEO for the Norwegian firm behind the site and he has been quick to launch a defence of the apparent attempt to exploit marital difficulties.

"I understand that people react. But no one who is happy within their relationship will make use of our service just because we advertise," he told the Aftonbladet daily.

Registration on the site is free but a paid membership is required in order to go beyond simply viewing other lonely hearts and actually getting in contact with potential partners.

Many visitors to the firm's Facebook page are openly scathing in their criticism of the Victoria Milan business model.

"You are the sickest firm I have ever experienced. You are a disgrace to Swedish business... that you encourage infidelity (with all the consequences for couples and not least their children)," one person wrote.

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The firm's marketing explained that the company was founded "as a result of the fact that a large proportion of people who are members of other dating sites lied about their marital status."

Despite the heated response from some quarters, Sigurd Vedal is unrepentant.

"We are a dating site which is very clear and direct, in contrast to many other sites out there. In a very competitive market one has to be clear with one's message and target group," he told Aftonbladet.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:15 March 15, 2011 by zircon
No Comment.
18:31 March 15, 2011 by Vietvet
Liven up your life? I moved to Sweden in 1995 with my Swedish wife supposedly so she could get an education for free compared to what it would cost in the US. The real reason was that she was in a 17 year affair with a Swedish man.

The affair did not liven up my life but hurt it terribly. Anyone who thinks it is right to cheat on their parnter has a real problem.
18:39 March 15, 2011 by locaxy
Awesome ad!

Anybody angered by this needs to grow up instead of moaning.
20:05 March 15, 2011 by Madstadlad
@locaxy who said we are moaning? Just can spot an idiotic campaign when we see one!
20:33 March 15, 2011 by johnny1939
Does anyone need to be encouraged to have an affair? Why would one need to join an agency to do so? Just go out an trawl the bars around midnight or later.

I also wonder if this is just another prostitution site? How safe is it? Murder, blackmail and decease come to mind.
21:13 March 15, 2011 by conboy
Ha ha hilarious! genuine humour and irony finally in this quaint kingdom
21:38 March 15, 2011 by Rolle
I'm happily married but i really don't know what's the big fuss about. If anything, the ad is pretty brilliant!
21:50 March 15, 2011 by stillwatersrd
I hope posting this article is an indication of The Local regaining it's sense of humor.
23:33 March 15, 2011 by zircon
It's good for me but not for her. And love conquers all. Including her apparent objections. Just kidding. Iam terribly jealous...
00:04 March 16, 2011 by Swedesmith
I suggested this to my wife. The dentist says that he can fix my teeth.
02:18 March 16, 2011 by matona1
can some one pls tell me the name of the site i am trap haha
08:38 March 16, 2011 by Soft Boiled
Any one who thinks an campaign promoting the break up of families is a "awesome ad" is an IDIOT!! And hasn´t the slightest idea of how lives can be wrecked by such irresponisble behaviour. If you are in a relationship that isn´t working then you have as much responsibility as your partner to see that it does work. And if you have children then you can double that. The effect of broken homes can be felt on future generations. Grow up and see these are real peoples lives and not some corny soap-opera script.
09:18 March 16, 2011 by Ozpot
The ad is not asking if your relationship is having problems, or if your relationship is dull. It is asking if your life is dull.

It tries to encourage people who are married to have an affair in the attempt to make it more interesting. Face it most people might consider the daily routines of life dull. However that doesn't mean you are having relationship problems. This ad encourages people to cheat so that there life may be more exciting. All this ad encourages is a breakdown in social values and promotes degeneracy. There is enough degeneracy on TV as it is.

How about people get of their backsides stop watching so much TV, and live life!
10:02 March 16, 2011 by johnny1939
Marriage is too much work. Is it really worth it? Hmmmm
11:07 March 16, 2011 by ctsg
Is this ad socially responsible? Does it promote or encourage any good values or virtues?
18:17 March 16, 2011 by jbat
many 0ther wys to get customers.. this co choose dirty ways to get it...
23:02 March 16, 2011 by vladd777
How totally septic! I'm glad im old!
12:51 March 17, 2011 by planet.sweden
@ locaxy wrote:

Awesome ad!

Anybody angered by this needs to grow up instead of moaning.

And anyone who finds this ad amusing fully deserves to be serially cheated on. Here's hoping some dudes shagging your partner over the back of a sofa as I write.
16:30 March 17, 2011 by stillwatersrd
Today's offerings on The Local have the words 'Sweden, Swede, or Swedish' in the titles of almost every article. And none of them are particularly funny. Really, Planet.Sweden, it's getting desperate. Even Swedesmith seems to be struggling to come up with one-liners.
17:23 March 17, 2011 by buschmann
Just take your anger out on the posters, that would make sigurd vedal very un-happy. He might cry and and call himself a victim.
20:51 March 17, 2011 by Mark_Brooks
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:31 March 19, 2011 by zat_xela
What makes the ad brilliant is that it's got all of you talking. There is no such thing as bad publicity.

And if your marriage is so weak that a bus stop ad threatens you, I suspect you have bigger problems.
16:07 March 20, 2011 by Cage
This is a replication of a US website.. ashleymadison.com. Once again, if you don't like the ad or the information just ignore it. Why report it? Typical whining about something that doesn't impact them. Instead of dealing with real problems in society people would rather expend energy on complaining about a stupid website which has no impact at all on their lives. antisemitism, racism, immigration, poverty... F*ck the time to complain and write about those things. We have real problems some capital pigs website is offending me. What a bunch of tools.
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