UPDATE: 5:15 pm ET
While we wait for a verdict from Sweden, the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis has offered Colbert a possible consolation prize. American Swedish Institute CEO Bruce Karstadt sent a letter to Colbert inviting the comedian to take over the @AmSwedInstitute Twitter account in the days leading up to the June 30 grand opening of the Nelson Cultural Center.
Karstadt wished Colbert luck with Operation Artificial Swedener along with the invitation, adding, “We know this isn’t quite the same as tweeting for an entire nation, but as a major hub of American-Swedish relations, we hope you will find it an acceptable short-term substitute. Who knows, maybe the actual Sweden will see the work you’ve been doing for us and reconsider.” He suggested Colbert could tweet to the Institute’s 958 followers in English, Swedish, “or in some hilarious, fakey mix of the two.”
You may have heard that Sweden relinquished control of its official Twitter account to its citizens late last year. And that Stephen Colbert launched his efforts to take over the account last week through his highly-publicized #ArtificialSwedener campaign. Today, the Scandinavian country revealed that it is actually considering letting the foreign satirical comedian access the account.
“We’re discussing it now, and we’re aiming at coming to a decision next week,” Sergio Guimaraes from the Swedish Institute, told theLocal. After two weeks of skirting Colbert’s requests, the Swedish Institute and Visit Sweden, who manage the account, have said “they are discussing the prospect of Colbert becoming a curator of the Sweden Twitter account,” reports the Local.
“Of course, we’re very flattered that Colbert is interested, though we are concerned that he may not be able to give an authentic view of the country,” said Johannes Karlsson, the head of PR and Social Media at Visit Sweden.
The innovative approach to social media allows one Swedish citizen to curate the @Sweden Twitter account for a week. The account actually nabbed the GrandPrix award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Wednesday for the “best international viral marketing campaign.” The method is creative, to be sure — but do they know what they’re getting into with Colbert?
When last week’s curator “Sonja” made headlines with controversialtweetsabouttheJewishcommunity, Colbert determined that he was a hundred times more qualified to run the account than the entire country of Sweden and began vying for the opportunity with OperationArtificialSwedener:
He makes a sound argument for those in charge of marketing for Sweden. @StephenatHome has 3.5 million Twitter followers. Since the @Sweden handle was first flashed across the Colbert Report screen nine days ago, the country’s followers have nearly doubled, from the 35,000 that Colbert mentions in the video to 63,000. The best international viral marketing campaign can only continue to get more creative– and few people in the world are more creative when it comes to moving the masses than Stephen Colbert.