Brainchild of Swedish ambassador to Chile Jakob Kiefer, the tongue in cheek “Diplomatic Mission Impossible” film has proven to be a hit in the South American nation, chalking up more than 417,000 views on the embassy's Facebook page.
Among other things it features a driver who looks remarkably like Top Gear's Stig, a clown who resembles Bill Skarsgård's Pennywise, a “probably” Finnish spy (who talks gibberish about Moomin), a training montage, and of course, plenty of visual nods to the old Mission Impossible TV series.
EU and Trade Minister Linde has a particularly dramatic role, sending an encrypted confidential message to the team in Chile. “Failure is not an option,” she warns while just about keeping a straight face.
Viewers have to make it through almost 12 minutes to get to PM Löfven's spot meanwhile.
The point of the film is to promote the new Vía Suecia (Swedish Way) art installation in Santiago's Los Leones metro station, which details the historic exchanges between Sweden and Chile across an 80 metre subway tunnel.
Sweden's ambassador to Chile Kiefer thought using humour would be a more effective way of spreading the word about the installation than traditional methods.
“We knew from experience that the embassy has limited power to break through using traditional media. I thought that by making some films we could draw from the way the world of diplomats is sometimes seen as a bit mysterious or beyond reach,” he told The Local.
“I wrote a script about us getting instructions from the government, and through building on the theme of the film more references emerged and created this familiar feel.”
Even if he suspected films could be effective in gaining publicity, the response to the clip (as well as a further clip in what is a two-part series) has surprised the diplomat:
“We're a bit overwhelmed with the response. The first instalment reached around 800,000 and the new one close to half a million in a short time. We got over 1,000 shares and a lot of positive comments, not just on the film, but also on Sweden contributing to decorating part of the subway station.”
There is plenty of praise in the comments left on the embassy's Facebook page. “Great production, noteworthy performance by the ambassador,” one pointed out. “It has been a long time since I've seen a diplomatic ad campaign that's as likeable, intelligent, and well done,” another wrote.
The Finnish embassy in Chile on the other hand raided their suspicions about the origins of the film's spy:
“His pronunciations reminds us a lot of our dear Nordic brothers the Norwegians.”
Kiefer was keen to emphasize the serious side to the artwork the video promotes, which commemorates the thousands of Chileans who fled oppression by taking refuge in Chile during the 1970s and 80s.
“There is humour – or whatever it should be called – but at the same time the fundamentals are completely serious. The legacy of those who came during Chile's dictatorship, a legacy from the 70s and 80s that many of today's generation don't really grasp. I wanted to renew that and create a new tone, a closer one. Humour works in a relationship you feel secure in. Sweden and Chile are very close, so we decided a humorous take would work,” he explained.
Getting PM Löfven to participate was important in that regard, the diplomat added, as was the entire team behind the production.
“I'm broadly responsible for the script and idea, but I had a large team to work out the ideas with. Working with heads of business, artists and Swedish ministers was an exciting process. I think we all made our 'acting' debuts, and stepping out of our usual roles created a sense of unity in team Sweden I think,” he concluded.