Iceland Tourism Says You Really, Honestly Don't Need to Go to Space

Like the metaverse, it's a little overrated

Visit Iceland continues to poke fun at cultural trends in its comical advertising, this time taking some of the air out of space travel by suggesting you'll have just as good a time—better, even!—by traveling to Iceland.

The geography of the Nordic island country is notoriously otherworldly, after all, as we're reminded in a 1:40 video from agency SS+K. Our guide is a dude whose 15-minute suborbital space flight has been delayed, so he's got some time on his hands—which he uses to talk up the landscapes, fresh food and natural hot tubs available to you around the 64th parallel. (It doesn't hurt the message here that Elon Musk, the SpaceX founder, has been melting down of late, either.)

There's an even a cameo around the 1:12 from the Mark Zuckerberg look-alike who narrated Iceland's viral metaverse parody, "Introducing the Icelandverse," released a year ago this week.

Mission: Iceland

As part of the campaign, Iceland is sending a billboard into space, encouraging space tourists (should there be any up there—and if not, well, it's just a PR gag anyway) to consider Iceland as a viable alternative.

The work is also grounded in various bits of research. First, two-fifths of Earth's population (39 percent) believes Iceland offers scenery better than they imagine ever experiencing in space. And also, six out of 10 people globally believe the landscape of Mars will have red rocks (60 percent), volcanoes (21 percent) and black sand (15 percent)—all of which can be found in Iceland. In other words, save yourself the trip. (A Super Bowl ad from Salesforce last winter actually had a similar basic message—why leave Earth when there's so much beauty here to explore?)

"Our message is simple: you don't need to leave Earth to have an experience that is out of this world," says Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, head of Visit Iceland. "There are otherworldly adventures to be found right here in Iceland, where you can enjoy the same lunar landscapes that NASA astronauts used as a training ground before the inaugural spacewalk."

"To work on a continuous journey with Visit Iceland has been an incredible experience," says SS+K ECD Stevie Archer. "Their appreciation for humor allowed us to hone our satirical muscle in various ways for each specific campaign. We get to rib current culture, by poking fun at space tourism, and having a point of view on current trends happening in the world opens up our creativity in so many ways."

In keeping with previous Visit Iceland efforts, "Mission: Iceland" isn't just a goofy one-off video. Rather, it leans into the core strategy SS+K and Visit Iceland developed together—that Iceland offers, in many ways, a respite from the speed, chaos and unreality of the modern world. As Archer told us last summer in discussing the viral metaverse parody: "Our insight was that Iceland was uniquely able to sort of be the antidote to whatever the rest of the world was throwing at us, and be a place where you could really get what you needed as a human being to fulfill yourself in a different way."

Below, check out our Tagline podcast episode that we recorded in Cannes exploring Iceland's metaverse campaign in depth.


Client: Business Iceland
CEO Pétur Óskarsson
Director, Marketing Communications Sveinn Birkir Björnsson
Director, Trade & Invest Árni Alvar Arason
Head of Marketing Projects Daníel Oddsson
Head of Visit Iceland Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir
Head of PR Lea Gestsdóttir Gayet
Head of Digital Ísak Kári Kárason
Head of Social Media Katarzyna María Dygul

Creative Agency: SS+K 
Co-Founder + Partner: Lenny Stern
Executive Creative Director: Stevie Archer
Managing Director, Production + Operations: John Swartz
Associate Creative Director, Writer: Cooper Evoy
Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Monica Apodaca
Managing Director, Head of Client Services: Amy Frisch
Account Supervisor: Erica Moore
Managing Director, Strategy Group: Kevin Skobac 
Strategy Director: Elena Claro

Icelandic Agency: Peel Iceland
Co-Founder + Partner: Magnús Magnússon
Co-Founder + Partner: Egill Þórðarson

Global PR Agency (Hub): M&C Saatchi Talk 
CEO: Jane Boardman
Head of Consumer: Steve Kirk
Senior Associate Director: Lauren Hunt-Morgan 
Senior Associate Director: Laura Jones 
Account Director: Kayleigh Ross
Account Director: Maia Quinn
Account Manager: Sam Sparks

Production Company: Pelikula 
Director / Editor: Allan Sigurðsson
Producer: Hannes Þór Arason
Director of Photography: Árni Filippusson
Additional Cinematography: Thor Eliasson
Hair & Makeup: Anna Kristin Oskarsdottir
1st A.C.s: (Assistant Camera) Guðjón Hrafn Guðmundsson,  Goði Már Guðbjörnsson,  Róbert Magnússon
2nd A.C.s (Assistant Camera): Eva Rut,  Sindri Snær Jónsson
Gaffers: Viktor Orri Andersen,  Hafþór Ingi Garðarsson,  Bjarni Svanur Friðsteinsson
Key Grip: Jón Andri Vinther
Sound: Agnar Friðbertsson, Eyþór Örn Margrétarson, Úlfhildur Eysteinsdóttir
Production Assistants: Lára Björg Gunnarsdóttir, Kristján Jónsson, Úlfur Arnalds

Costume: María Theódóra Ólafsdóttir, Arna Engilbertsdóttir

VFX & Grade: Bjarki Gudjonsson @ Trickshot

Music : Úlfur Eldjárn

Sound Mix: Brynjar Unnsteinsson

Locations: Sky Lagoon
La Primavera (Marshall)

Equipment rental: Kukl

Actors: Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson, Jörundur Ragnarsson

Special Thanks: Leifur Kolbeinsson, Elma Árnadóttir, Ragnheiður Harpa Haraldsdóttir, Örlygur Hnefill Örlygsson, Atli Thor Fanndal, Hreinn Beck

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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