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Inspired by Iceland / Hot Tub Tutorials

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world

Online classes teach travellers about Icelandic culture

A tongue-in-cheek tourism campaign from Inspired by Iceland is educating people about the country’s customs, etiquette and culture.

The Iceland Academy, by London-based agency The Brooklyn Brothers and Islenska in Reykjavík, consists of a series online tutorials that cover topics like ‘How to avoid hot tub awkwardness’ and ‘Staying safe in Iceland’.

Each video contains information that is designed to protect the natural beauty of Iceland while also ensuring that visitors get the most out of their trip. In ‘Responsible travelling in Iceland', for example, viewers are taught why they shouldn’t jump on moss, why they should stick to paths and why they must never camp outside regulated sites.

Each film is also presented by a local – for instance, the ‘guide to winter sports’ is hosted by Guðmundur Karl Jónsson, a ski area manager.

After watching each video, users are encouraged to answer a few questions to earn their badge for that particular course. People who earn every badge are then entered into a competition to win a holiday to Iceland.

Inspired by Iceland is a partnership between the Icelandic government, the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, Landsbankinn bank, Icelandair and other companies in Icelandic tourism.


Contagious Insight / 

Growing risks / Research from Statistics Iceland has found that tourism numbers to Iceland from North America and Europe have increased by 59% since 2012. This is obviously great news for the country’s tourism industry, but it also brings with it a responsibility to protect the natural beauty of the surroundings. As various news articles have pointed out, Iceland is an easy place to get lost or experience problems when travelling around, so the more information that people can be given beforehand, the better.

As Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, director of tourism and creative industries at Promote Iceland said: ‘We have a responsibility to not only inspire but educate those considering a trip to Iceland, as well as encouraging sustainable travel amongst our visitors. The majority of tourists want to experience nature, and we know that Icelandic nature must be treated with respect and care.’ These tongue-in-cheek classes, then, are a smart way of conveying this information in a way that doesn’t come across as overly preachy or stuffy.

Local support / Choosing residents who have a genuine knowledge of the country – such as search and rescue or ski area managers – also helps to give the Academy authenticity. There’s been a recent surge in tourism boards using locals to promote their country, whether it’s Inspired by Iceland’s own Human Search Engine (which generated a 52% audience increase on social media), or Visit Sweden’s Find your Swede campaign, which asked users to take a personality test and then matched them with a Swedish person who has similar interests.

This tactic helps to give people a genuine glimpse of the country that they might be considering visiting – an antidote to the Instagram-filtered, photo-shopped images that typical find their way into tourism marketing campaigns.

Iceland Academy


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