When N. H. Abel’s portrait stared back at me through the window at [REDACTED] airport I was briefly under the impression that at least one airline was ready to celebrate our vocation’s romantic imagery. Then I leafed through the on-board magazine and leaned that Abel was only one of Norwegian Air’s tail fin heroes and had been spotted exercising this function as early as 2011. One reads:
The word “halehelt” (tail fin hero) was placed number six on the Top Ten Words of 2012 list, developed by the Language Council of Norway and NHH – the Norwegian School of Economics.…
The solution was to involve people in local elections to find Norwegian’s next tail fin heroes. The portrait of the local tale fin hero, voted for by local citizens, would grace the tail fin of one of Norwegian’s new aircraft. The concept was developed by ad agency Kitchen, while our task was to make sure we created engagement around the campaign in earned media.
Heroes are Scandinavian and include Henrik Ibsen, Kirsten Flagstad, Fridtjof Nansen, H.C. Andersen, and many other more or less familiar figures. Greta Garbo is on the way but not, apparently, Sophus Lie.
It should be obvious to readers that the story is merely an excuse to display the above photo; and while I’m at it, here’s a completely unrelated photo that I forgot to include in an earlier post on Cédric Villani’s ubiquity in French media:
Nevertheless it’s fair to ask: what was the likelihood that I would see precisely this and no other portrait on my sole Norwegian Air Shuttle flight? Between 1 and 2%, judging by the list.