Drawing attention to the prevalence of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) probably doesn’t feature on any tourist board’s game plan.
The Norwegian tourist board is therefore, unsurprisingly, battling with convenience store chain 7-Eleven over its “Welcome to Norway! The Land of Chlamydia” campaign.
A TV ad and posters show a young Norwegian couple in front of the country’s famous scenery of mountains and fjords—but the message is a warning to use protection to avoid spreading STDs. It also greets tourists as they arrive at Oslo’s central station.
Calling it a “disaster” and “not a good advert for Norway,” Stein Ove Rolland from Visit Norway told Dagbladet (link in Norwegian) that the message “makes Norwegians seem like uncouth, lewd, sex-mad people.”
But sexual health NGO Sex og samfunn said chlamydia was rife in Norway—over 26,000 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed in 2016—as locals “are not good at using condoms.”
7-Eleven is standing by its posters, which it says are an attempt to increase awareness and get people talking about the problem.
In 2015, a study of Google searches by British health and beauty retailer Superdrug revealed that Norway was a “herpes hotspot” of sorts.