By Natalie B Compton
Iceland has long attracted tourists with picturesque geothermal lagoons and the dare of sampling fermented shark meat.
But lately, it seems like the country - or at least its official tourism board - also wants to be known for internet shenanigans. Its latest bit is a clever promotional video that takes not-so-subtle shots at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his instantly memed Metaverse.
The video begins by introducing a "Chief Visionary Officer" named Zack Mossbergsson who sports Zuckerberg's Augustus Caesar haircut and black crew-neck sweater. "Hi, and welcome to this very natural setting," the look-alike says inside a sleek room reminiscent of the lair where Zuckerberg announced Facebook was rebranding to Meta.
"Today, I want to talk about a revolutionary approach on how to connect to our world without being super weird," the doppelganger says, going on to introduce the "Icelandverse" as a place you can visit to experience "enhanced actual reality without silly-looking headsets."
Mossbergsson mimics Zuckerberg's stilted speech and awkward energy while delivering lines such as "In our open-world experience, everything is real," while struggling to open a sliding-glass door.
Donning a silica mud mask - both a reference to bathers at the Blue Lagoon and a jab at the Internet-famous paparazzi shot of a zinc-covered Zuckerberg eFoil surfing in Hawaii - Mossbergsson promises Iceland has "water that's wet" and "humans to connect with."
When Zuckerberg revealed in October that Facebook was assuming a new name, the Internet had a field day dissecting the 80-minute video announcement.
The endeavour goes far beyond Facebook's roots as a social network, shopping portal and dating app by offering users a virtual universe where people can live as avatars.
Some of Visit Iceland's earlier stunts include producing a music video about turning sweatpants into hiking boots and encouraging potential visitors to record cathartic screams that could be played across the country's rocky tundra. In 2017, the tourism board released the "hardest karaoke song in the world" with a bunch of words most people can't pronounce, such as bílaleigubíll.
Should the video inspire a desire to visit Iceland, go for it. During the coronavirus pandemic, the country was one of the earliest international destinations to accept tourists, reopening in June 2020.