Dear Norway: Sharing Photo Screams Are Gentler on the Ears

Silent Scream: There is no screaming allowed in the hallowed halls of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, temporary home of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” (Click here for MOMA exhibit details)

Norway is understandably proud of being the birthplace of artist Edvard Munch, whose iconic painting “The Scream” will continue to impact Halloween costumes and the horror genre for generations to come. You can deeply feel the anguish of the subject — the frantic lines themselves are enough to make you nervous.

But do you want to actually hear the screaming?  Visit Norway, the official travel promotion bureau of the Land of the Midnight Sun, is giving away a dream vacation package and daily and weekly Norwegian-made prizes to random fans who contribute creative videos of themselves screeching their lungs out.

So far, the screaming montage — meant to celebrate travel “experiences guaranteed to make you scream” — is 27 minutes long. And it is quite frankly, unwatchable (by design) after 4-5 minutes. Some participants don’t even scream, offering a muffled hum or moan instead. But others, particularly the child shriekers, belt out ear-piercing cries that make you long for the soothing sounds of fingernails on the chalkboard.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the poor souls in the Visit Norway edit room!

The concept of Norway’s “What Makes You Scream?” campaign is clever and although their “Longest Scream in the World” film won’t ever crack Sundance, there are a bunch of priceless moments with mountain climbers, boaters, skiers, school children and even a heavy metal band.

However, we’d humbly suggest that expanding the Edvard Munch video tribute with an ongoing stream of Scream photos would bring lots more Hawaiian-shirted tourists to Oslo. I’ll explain why after you take a quick glimpse at this gorgeous Norwegian fjord:

Visit Norway, the official tourism board, is using photo sharing to drive daily interest in its “Scream” video contest. (Photo by Håvard Myklebust via Visit Norway’s Facebook Page)

As anyone who’s ever casually sifted through the YouTube chaos knows, it is much harder for the average person to make a quality video than it is to take a quality picture. The world of photo-sharing apps and filters now can turn virtually everyone into Ansel Adams — or at least make them feel like they are being far more creative. The percentage of quality submissions with photos vs. videos is naturally higher — and so is the overall volume.

Perhaps even more important are the family and friends on the receiving end of sharing content. Watching a video (particularly a 27-minute one) requires a commitment. Looking at a picture takes an instant, and the impulse to share (or not) comes quickly — because there is no significant time investment.

This is not to suggest that videos are a bad medium for engaging fans. Hey, all this screaming got our attention — and inspired numerous top travel writers (the BBC lauds the promotion as “zany.”)

But if you’re going for scale — to fill those Viking ships with as many tourists as possible and expand your CRM database for future promotions — photos edge out videos every time.

As an aside, we absolutely love the mobile phone art recently shared on Visit Norway‘s Facebook page — it makes us want to scream with nostalgia over the photo sharing technology of the not-so-distant past!

Does the pace of mobile technology make you want to Scream? When you upgrade to a new cell phone,  make sure you recycle your old ones. (Source: Visit Norway and The Scream From Nature).

(Pongr’s always-on Photo Response Marketing platform helps brands harness information from customer photo contests for their CRM database and retail intelligence. Learn more.)

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