The Danish Road Safety Council has a hilarious ad out designed to promote helmet use in the country. The ad, titled “Helmet has always been a good idea,” is set in Denmark in 893 and features a Viking leader named Svend who is about to lead a group of men to take on England.
As Svend gets on his horse and prepares to head off, his son runs up to him with a helmet, but the leader is not ready to wear it. When asked by another man in the crowd if he should be wearing a helmet, Svend replies that it “makes my scalp itch,” and “ruins my braids.” He also says that he’s a “careful rider.”
In the end Svend’s wife comes out and tells him that he can go looting and pillaging, but only if he wears his helmet. That’s enough to get him to finally comply – a good thing since he hits his head on a gate on his way out of the village.
The ad fits in with the Danish Cyclists’ Federation approach to helmet use, which “recommends that cyclists wear (a) helmet, but are against helmet compulsion … making the helmet mandatory could devastate the Danish bicycle culture.”
While the federation is quick to acknowledge that “helmets can reduce head injuries, and in some cases, it can mean the difference between life and death,” it is worried that compulsory helmet laws could “have a destructive effect on the Danish bicycle culture.” The federation points to statistics from Australia and the U.S. that have shown that compulsory helmet laws have decreased bicycle use.
“Criminalizing and scaring Danes off bikes is the wrong approach,” the federation concludes.
Which is why the country puts a lot of resources into campaigns to promote helmet use and produces imaginative commercials like this one.