Sex sells, so the axiom instructs, and it’s at least true for page views of this travel agency’s latest PR effort. After hitting YouTube yesterday, the mildly-NSFW ad already has almost 400,000 page views, mostly due to the sultry sales pitch for planning a little procreation on Danish holiday travels. Noting the precarious decline of the fertility rate among Danes, Spies Travel will hold a contest for those who become pregnant while on tour through the romantic cities of Europe (via NPR):
Terence McCoy writes at the Washington Post that while Danes don’t have “a sex problem, per se,” they do have a serious birth-rate issue — and it has big implications for public policy in the near future:
According to government statistics, Denmark posted a birth rate of 10 per 1,000 residents in 2013 — its lowest in decades. The nation’s birthrate was 9.9 in 1983.
Denmark’s perennially low birth rate places it with Germany (8.33), Japan (8.39) and Singapore (7.72). And the downward trend has left people worried in Denmark. Most couples say they want two or three kids, according to the Copenhagen Post, but one in five couples wind up childless. …
According to its promotion, the company will give prizes to couples who get pregnant while on vacations purchased through them. First, the couple must select a “romantic” city — it recommends Paris and Rome — then “let yourself be seduced by the city pulse.”
Afterward, upon successful sex, the couple is to shoot off a positive pregnancy test and medical records to the company. Then they may win three years worth of free diapers.
The video hints at the problem in Western nations, which is not so much the lack of babies as it is the growing number of older adults in systems with extensive social-support systems. The ad itself doesn’t even bother to make its pitch on the basis of boosting Danish culture as much as it does a self-serving plea for more future workers to support the expanding number of pensioners. Instead, it features an attractive woman in various (but work-safe) states of undress as the enticement to win some free diapers and to be able to claim that “you did your duty.”
While the entire concept is amusing, it’s also astonishingly utilitarian in both substance and presentation. Is the only value of children in Denmark (and other similarly situated countries) their contribution to the pensions of others? Given the widespread acceptance of abortion in the West, perhaps we should not be surprised by this, but it’s still a rather grim and constricted view of the value of life and the blessings of family.
If Western nations want to solve the crisis in social-support programs, they should start by reforming them to operate independent of how many future workers have to support the future retirees, and make them operate completely on in-year revenues. There are a number of ways to do that, some less politically palatable than others, but none of which consign future workers to servitude to others as we have done over the last several decades. The cultural and moral values of the West would certainly be improved by higher birth rates — but especially if the West finally recognized the sanctity, blessings, and value of life itself as its legacy to the world. Re-establishing that should be our duty.