This week, I fell for a Swiss joke. Yes, you heard me right.
It started with a headline in the Tages Anzeiger: “Rock cleaners scrub bird poop off the Alps.” I believed it. Why wouldn’t I?
First of all, the Swiss scrub everything from trash cans to concrete. So why not bird poop from Alpine cliffs?
And secondly, the Swiss don’t joke. Especially in the newspaper. Or do they?
Apparently Switzerland Tourism does - at least on April Fool’s Day. The April 1 newspaper article was part of the launch of an ad campaign where the insane Swiss cleanliness thing is taken to a whole new level.
If I’m their target - and believe me, I am (I’m the resident tourist on the SBB/CFF/ABCDEFG train smiling blissfully behind a pile of RailAway Brochures)-then Swiss Tourism has really figured out how to get my attention.
The campaign’s premise: We’ll do anything to make your Swiss vacation great.
To support this idea, there’s a YouTube video showing a team of binocular-clad Swiss dispatching their cleaning crew when they spot birds pooping on mountains.
I love it. It is so unexpected. The Swiss are laughing at themselves. And I’m laughing with them, glad for the opportunity to not have to take things so seriously for once.
In fact, with this advertising campaign as my incentive, I plan to take a trip to the Swiss National Museum to check out the Witzerland exhibit (which opened April 2) to learn more about this thing called Swiss humour.
So maybe next time, when the Swiss tell a joke, I’ll be ready.