In a Super Bowl commercial promoting electric vehicles, American comedian Will Ferrell noted that per-capita sales of such automobiles are higher in Norway than in the U.S., and a university in the Scandinavian country responded with a humorous skit about tuition, renewable energy development, and more that doubles as a short primer on the benefits of living in a social democracy.
For those who skipped the Super Bowl, here’s the original General Motors ad starring Ferrell:
Watch the response featuring Sunniva Whittaker, rector of the University of Agder in Norway, who says, “The Americans are coming, and Will Ferrell does not look happy.”
“We have to make a public apology, and we have to get rid of anything else that might make Will envy us in any way,” she continues. “If he gets so annoyed about our electric vehicles, I can’t imagine how he’d react to all the other stuff.”
“I pay tuition!” recites a confused exchange student, as Whittaker nods approvingly. “But I don’t pay tuition,” the student later admits. “Education in Norway is free, even for us Americans!”
“Well I know that,” Whittaker says, “but Will Ferrell does not have to know.”
This dynamic is repeated twice more: first, when Whittaker brushes aside a student who asks the rector about the university’s research on using hydropower to recycle and reuse electric vehicle batteries; and then, when a student calls Whittaker to tell the rector that she’ll see her again following a one-year paid maternity leave.
“If you want to become the number one country in the world when it comes to electric vehicles,” Whittaker concludes, addressing the United States, “we won’t stand in your way. We’ll even help you, and co-create the knowledge you need.”