Norwegian island grabs US attention

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A small Norwegian island and its characteristic lighthouse have featured prominently in a large US insurance company’s advertising campaign this fall. The buzz around the ad, though, seems more fixated on where the picturesque island is, rather than its promotion of lower insurance rates.

The small island of Ona featured in Allstate’s ad doesn’t involve much driving, and instead is best known for its historic fishing village and lighthouse. That’s some of the Norwegian mainland in the background. PHOTO: Allstate/YouTube screen grab

The company, Allstate Insurance, doesn’t identify the island that’s instantly recognizable to many Norwegians. Instead, Allstate’s message literally drives home the point that its insurance rates can be pegged to how much you drive (standard practice, by the way, in Norway). So, if you don’t need to drive very much (on a small island, for example) “you’ll save 50 percent.”

There’s no mention that the island, where a young man is shown driving through some spectacular coastal scenery, isn’t located where the American company would likely have customers. Instead it’s part of a chain of islands off Norway’s coast in the Møre og Romsdal district, roughly located between the cities of Ålesund and Molde.

So the answer to the question “Where’s the Allstate Island?” that’s been raised by some of the ad’s tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube: The island is Ona, and its lighthouse is called Ona Fyr. It’s a popular place in the summertime, reachable by boat or several ferries from other islands and, eventually, the mainland. And it’s probably very flattered that it’s suddenly getting quite a bit of international exposure.

Norwegians, meanwhile, may be amused by how the people in the ad seem to speak English on Ona, instead of the local dialect, and by how gorgeous the weather was when the ad was filmed. Ona is often a stormy place, and thus maybe a place insurers would really rather avoid.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund