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A few minutes ago, I noticed that the Denmark based CMS company, Mono.net, had begun running Google ads on the “Danish mother seeking” keywords. The ad says “Do like Karen from Denmark – and create a free website at mono.net”

As you may know, Mindjumpers actually were the first to suggest Mono.net as the company behind the viral video-campagin – “Danish Mother Seeking”, posted by the Youtube account, “KarenDK26”. Even though this definitely does not look like one of the founders of Mono.net, as stated in the post, the analysis behind the suggestion is correct, since Mono.net has a lot to win from this campagin.

Mono.net is hosting the really amateurish website, where the fictional Karen figure (a.k.a. Ditte Arnth ) presents herself and her little son. I can’t really remember if anyone actually checked this with Mono.net – but they have had quite a silent life, since their launch over a year ago, so a good viral campagin could be just what they needed.

But even if they didn’t make the campaign, they are now riding the viral wave and cashing in on it with ads on Google. Good for you, folks@Mono – enjoy the ride ;o)

This morning, I was contacted by a reporter from a major Danish TV-station, who wanted to know more about this video of an alleged 26 years old woman, calling out to the unknown father of her son on YouTube. The video also displays a link to a website (http://karen26.mono.net/ ), where we can see more pictures of “Karen and her little son, August”. 

In my opinion, this is clearly a marketing stunt. It’s just a question about who’s behind it. On Twitter, a condom manufacturer and Danish tourist organizations are the most popular guesses. The people behind http://mono.net, who host her amateurish website, have also been mentioned by Thilde Vesterby at Mindjumpers.

This is what makes me think that “Karen’s” story is pure fiction:

1. “Karen” doesn’t remember the father’s name, appearance or nationality. This doesn’t correspond well with basic knowledge about human memory: Unusual events are often stored more efficiently in memory than ordinary events.

“Karen” doesn’t present herself as promiscuous, thus we must assume that meeting a foreign man and bringing him home with her is not something she experiences regularly. Therefore it seems unlikely that she wouldn’t have remembered what this person looked like or where he was from – or what he was called, if they ever did exchange names.

If they had sex on the harbor without talking much, perhaps there would be no names exchanged. But they apparently talked about such clichés as “hygge”, which points towards a somewhat formal setting. In such a setting, it is more likely that they had exchanged names than the opposite. Furthermore, they apparently walked home together, which made it even more likely that they exchanged names. Since foreign names are often more unusual to you than names in your own language, it is more likely that she would have remembered his name, than forgotten  it.

If this was a viral campaign, a name on the father – or even a description or a nationality, would have limited the amount of people who were potentially touched by it. Therefore this supports the theory that this is fiction.

2. “Karen” doesn’t look emotionally affected by the situation. Her face and eye movements reflect no inner conflict or emotions.

For example, “Karen”  tries to give an impression of shamefulness, when she mentions her not remembering much from that evening. But it never affects her facial expressions, which remain the same no matter what she says. If this was a somewhat improvised presentation, I would have expected her to move her eyes a lot more around as se searched for words or became embarrassed. This doesn’t happen – she looks into the camera, quite friendly and secure all the time.

3. Her website is under-presenting her, compared to Danes in general.

"Karen and kiddo"

In some other countries, it is impolite to ask people about their profession, but in Denmark, our occupation is a key component in our identity. It is unlikely that a real Danish girl would not reveal her occupation as one of the first things, when she made a webpage about herself. “Living alone with my son” is less likely to be the tag line of a young Danish woman’s personal website. A Danish woman would define herself as much more that a mother.

4. The “hygge” discussion is a cliché, more popular in Denmark than abroad

The only people I have EVER heard tell me that “hygge” (coziness) is something so uniquely Danish and that it can’t be translated have been Danish. It is a cliché that is mainly used in relation to tourism and not a fact that is well known outside Denmark. Thus, it is more likely that this has been fabricated than real.

5. Do the pictures and video show a mother and her child?

IMG38161_0The pictures are quite elaborated, though – different settings and clothes – and some less flattering. This could actually be her own kid – but some (vague) signs suggest that it isn’t.

In the picture of Karen and her kid reading a book (above), she covers the pages of the book with her hand. That is not a usual situation, if a mother is reading or looking at pictures with her child. It is more likely a thing you do when you want to prevent the kid from moving the book until the picture has been taken.

In the next picture of Karen almost kissing the kid (right), the child looks a bit surprised by “Karen’s” appearing so close. This may off course be a coincidence, but it could also be a sign that this woman’s face is not familiar – perhaps because she  is not the mother of that child.

In the video, the child also looks quite curious at both the room and “Karen”, which suggests that neither are familiar sights to him. If you follow the child’s eyes – he may actually be looking at someone to our left of the camera, but that could actually be anything – and another person is not required to operate the camera.

An why doesn’t “Karen” show any pictures of her and little August where he is an infant? The kid doesn’t seem to age much on the pictures shown on the site, where it is always summertime ;o)

Conclusion

This is with almost certainty a fictional video and it is most likely a part of a marketing campagin. But is it Danish Tourism or Condoms? You may disagree og have even more evidence for or against my conclusion – feel free to post it here…