Back home, when I tell people (i.e. American guys) that I live in Sweden, their eyes light up like Times Square at New Year's. You can literally see what's going on in their dirty little minds because it's written all over their faces: blond, leggy supermodels clad in fur bikinis dancing in the streets with polar bears.**
Yes indeed, wild arctic fox fur makes excellent swimwear.
Now boys, shut your mouthes and wipe your chins. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the Swedish Bikini Team shall forever remain a figment of your imagination. THERE IS NO SUCH THING. It is actually an American invention. If you ask the average Swede on the street (avid Playboy readers and fans of Dumb and Dumber aside, see below) about the SBT, you'll likely get a blank stare, or a look of confusion. Funny enough, most Swedes have never even heard of the Swedish Bikini Team.
The origin of the SBT is an advertising campaign for Old Milwaukee beer which ran in the States in the early 90s.**** The target audience was young, 21-plus beer drinkers (and their little brothers). The campaign slogan was “It doesn’t get any better than this...” Exhaustive research indicated that the target audience like women and parties. Gee, really?
As the creative director of the campaign, Patrick Scullin, puts it, the idea was simple: "A Monty Pythonesque notion: five women who have no reason for being except to magically appear in beer spots." Every young man's dream come true.
And guess what? Surprise, surprise. The women who played the SBT then made their debut on the cover of Playboy, sans bikini in the centerfold, of course. Later on, the SBT got friendly with Harry and Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber.
Then came the lawyers (you knew this was coming, didn't you?). The beer company had been hit with a sexual harassment suit by its female employees. The campaign was shut down, and the SBT went down in the chronicles of infamy, forever coming back to haunt Swedish women who dare to enter a beer-drinking establishment in the Anglo-Saxon world. And so it remains today.
**To be fair, Swedish guys get a similar look on their face when I tell them I drive a pick up truck when I'm back home. Lights, Camera, Action: And so begins the Coke commercial in their pretty little heads where the sun-drenched blond (that would be me) steps out of a monster truck wearing little more than a coyboy hat and boots, taking off her hat, hair tumbling down, framing her tanned face as her mouth forms into an O, and she lustfully lifts the bottle to her pouty lips...Yee hah...I'm WAAAAY TOO SEXY for my '89 Dodge Ram 50 (with a camper shell, I might add).
**** Info snagged from an article by the creative director of the Old Milwaukee beer campaign, Patrick Scullin.