Here at And Now a Word From Our Sponsors, we've had quite the international audience. You are cosmopolitan. You are sophisticated. And you're located throughout the globe. Today, we'll be focusing our collective gaze at our friends in Sweden for bringing us the latest in coffee hawking technology.
In order to bone up on Sweden, and so that I could appear to be more knowledgeable on the subject, I Googled "Swedish things" --I know! A stroke of genius. Google brought me to "Katja's" post on the Top 15 Swedish things on this Swedish Blog.
Here they are:
1. ABBA- the 70's pop group that stole our hearts with hits like "Mamma Mia" and "Dancing Queen," and took Europe by storm after winning the fairest contest of them all, Eurovision.
2. IKEA- King of cheap furniture with completely unpronounceable names. I love my poang chair!
3. Pippi Longstocking- According to the official gateway to Sweden's website, Pippi is a Swedish rebel and feminist role model. Take that, Little Orphan Annie.
4. Beautiful Blond Women- Oh the horrors of Googling for blonde Swedish women. These two have on the most clothing by far. Swedes are blonde and beautiful. Get over it.
5. Volvo- Vroom vroom sounds like Swedish to me.
7. Nobel prize- International prestige awaits for those the Swedes deem worthy. Actually, I'm pretty sure the Swedes don't decide this unilaterally, but wouldn't that be fun?
8. Absolut Vodka- reasonably priced, delightful vodka. Thank you, Sweden. And kudos on Absolut Brooklyn. I approve.
9. Gamla Stan (The old city in Stockholm)
10. Socialism- According to Wiki, the Swedes practice a mixed market economy characterised by a more generous welfare state
at enhancing individual autonomy, ensuring the universal provision of
basic human rights and stabilizing the economy.
11. Annas pepparkakor- This a popular brand of Swedish ginger snap like cookies. Now I really want to try them! They look yummy.
12. Kanelbullar- This is a Swedish cinnamon roll, topped with pearl sugar.
13. Swedish Chef (from Sesame Street)- Ooorgie boorgie!
14. Snow- They didn't invent it. They aren't the only ones who get it. But apparently they get enough of it to make it a national treasure.
15. Lucia- I remember celebrating St. Lucia's day in kindergarten. One of the girls in my class got to dress up as her for a procession through the school. I was jealous.
Thanks, Katja! Now we know. Oh, to have ABBA as your country's top thing! Now that we've had our little lesson in all things Swedish, it's time to meet Johan. Johan is trying to make himself and Gevalia coffee (or kaffe) #1 on that list. You can imagine the trouble of trying to top ABBA, so Johan has his work cut out for him. Johan is no mere spokesperson. Johan is the kaffe gigolo. Gevalia has put Johan in a series of steamy, saucy kaffe kommercials. Ack! The Swedishness is kontagious! I'll toss in some extraneous k's in honor of our nation of the day.
Let's take a look at the first spot: Fika.
Don't worry reader, it's not your fault. Gevalia and Johan totally set you up on this one. First, there was the exotic four letter word, konveniently starting with an F. Second, there was a series of ridiculous images from unzipping pants to that bizarre "massage." Third, there's Johan the kaffe gigolo.
Thankfully, Wikipedia can konfirm that a fika really is a kaffe break. Check out this amazingly Swedish fun fact: Traditionally, fika requires sweet, baked goods, especially cinnamon rolls. According to Helene Henderson, author of The Swedish Table,
one needs three items minimum to avoid insult to Swedish guests; "to
impress, serve a variety of seven freshly baked items--and be ready to
talk about the weather." Yikes, these Swedes take their fika very seriously.
Next up: Motorcade.
This is the commercial I actually saw on TV. This is the one that inspired me to do my homework and write this post. Why? Because, I have become a stereotype. Yes, readers, I'm one of those women who whines on a near daily basis for her husband to rub her feet, like someone out of an early 90's sitcom. If Johan's got my feet, I hope he gets to work on them soon. This is definitely my favorite of the bunch.
Let's meet Johan in the office.
Finally, Johan likes your curves.
The main theme that runs throughout these ads is that Johan is Sweden's answer to Joe. These ads are trying to get Americans to hop ship from American coffee for Sweden's kaffe. When I think American "cup of Joe," my mind jumps directly to Dunkin Donuts and Fred the Baker. Fred is the ultimate personification of a cup of Joe.
Fred was the classic product spokesperson. For those who remember the old Dunkin Donuts commercials, you'll never forget Fred rising at the crack of dawn to his tagline, "Time to make the donuts." That was one hardworking American. As a kid, those donuts were the ultimate treat.
As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of Dunkin Donuts and their coffee. I'm drinking a cup of it right now as I type this. We frequently make Dunkin coffee at home now that they've bagged up the good stuff and started selling it in supermarkets.
The thing is, I've never actually tried Gevalia kaffe. Good commercials (or kommercials) are supposed to make you curious about a new brand. This set certainly works. I'd be open to trying out some Gevalia--especially with promises of foot rubs. But I'm pretty in love with my Dunkin coffee. It would take something incredible to konvert me.
So the verdict? Johan, I love your commercials. But I think I might be a Joe type girl. We'll have to wait and see...