It’s no secret that American movie stars are popular all over the world. It is also safe to call the comic Will Ferrell a bonafide movie star, but the relationship between stars and fans doesn’t always go both ways. Still, why on earth would Ferrell despise the entire country of Norway?
Will Ferrell does not hate Norway; he merely pretended to do so in a series of television commercials for General Motors that aired in the lead-up to the 55th Super Bowl, the final game in the 2020-2021 American football season.
This article will explain why the impression was created that Ferrell hates Norway and explain how Americans other than Will Ferrell view the country.
Why Do People Think Will Ferrell Hates Norway?
People might think Will Ferrell hates Norway if they viewed a series of commercials he starred in for American automobile manufacturer General Motors. In the commercial, Ferrell is seen ranting against Norway and Norwegians.
General Motors (GM) first teased the ads in the build-up to the 55th Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is the biggest night on the American football calendar. It determines the champions of the National Football League (NFL) for the season gone by.
The night of the final game of the NFL season is also one of the biggest nights for American advertising. Assured of a large audience, it has long been a stage for the biggest American corporations to launch their most extravagant creative campaigns. 
The iconic Apple television commercial announcing the launch of the Macintosh computer in 1984 upped the ante by creating a spectacle that was avidly consumed by the vast masses. And ever since, creatives and stars have playfully gone up against each other to grab the most eyeballs. Highly coveted by marketers, the spots now go for millions of dollars each.
GM used the teaser convention, gradually releasing short ads in the build-up to the game. These worked to draw out the audience’s curiosity about the source of Ferrell’s disgust for the Norwegians and, possibly, to provoke them.
Intended to be humorous, they showed him pranking the Norwegians by:
- criticizing them
- grumbling about them
- singing disparaging songs about Norway and Norwegians
- reading out fake facts about the country
- and pranking them by sending them pizzas they didn’t order. 
The big reveal was played on the night of the final game, contested by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, which was played to empty stands in Tampa, Florida, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ad revealed the earlier spots to be an extension of GM’s “Everybody In” campaign to accelerate the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in America. Ferrell had been mock-scorning the Norwegians because they had outdone Americans in Electric Vehicle adoption.
On a night that celebrated sporting competition, the ad was meant as a playful prod to spur Americans into purchasing more EVs than Norwegians.
So, ultimately, Ferrell did not despise Norway or Norwegians. The ads were merely a humorous and provocative way to get his fellow citizens to up their rates of EV adoption and a friendly joke at the expense of the nation at the top of the EV adoption game. 
What Commercial Is the Basis for This Falsehood?
The commercial providing the basis for the impression that Will Ferrell hates Norway is the ad he made for GM, which was aired in the lead-up to the 55th SuperBowl in early 2021. Called “No Way, Norway,” it was meant to encourage Americans to outdo the world leaders in EV adoption, Norway.
Despite being a significant producer of petroleum products, Norway is a global leader in renewable energy production. It generates almost all the energy for its domestic energy needs from Hydropower and is the world leader in the number of Electric Vehicles owned per capita by population. 
In fact, in 2020, Norwegians became the first people in the world to buy more Electric Vehicles than vehicles with Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs). By 2025, they hope to end the sale of ICE vehicles altogether.
In response to this dominant leadership position, and on the occasion of one of the most highly-contested sporting events on the American national stage, the GM campaign hoped to arouse the competitive spirits of their fellow citizens by appealing to them to outdo the Norwegians by adopting EVs in large numbers.
The spot was a part of GMs “Everybody In” campaign, which was pushing for greater EV adoption by Americans. Of course, GM hoped to supply many EVs Americans would buy. Any mocking of Norway and Norwegians was thus revealed to be playful and, if anything, showed Americans as aspiring to outdo the Norwegians’ achievements.
How Do Americans View Norway?
Most Americans do not have strong opinions about Norway. Many have general impressions gleaned from mass media depictions. However, in recent years, political debates have brought the Nordic model to the forefront of American consciousness, dividing opinion among them.
A recent study conducted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) together with the National Geographic Society (NGS) showed that most Americans have limited knowledge of geography and global affairs. This is despite the same study pointing out that Americans found these matters to be of the utmost importance. 
In a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of this state of affairs, the GM ad shows Ferrell pointing out the location of Norway on the map.
Many Americans will also have gleaned a general impression of Norway as a cold northern European land with beautiful, blue-eyed, blonde people and the land of (some of) the Vikings. While these impressions are not wholly without basis in facts, they can be over-simplistic and informed by highly fanciful depictions in films and TV.
There are also many Americans of Norwegian heritage, and with the increase in global tourist numbers in recent decades, more Americans visit Norway every year. However, most Norwegian-Americans no longer have connections with Norway, and tourist numbers to Norway are a fraction of the American population.
In recent years, with American politics getting more fractious, the Nordic model of political economy – that countries like Norway are founded on – has received increasing attention in American political debates.
This has placed Norway at the center of American disputes surrounding the state’s role in public life, dividing Americans on the left and the right. Many liberal democrats look up to countries like Norway for their generous state welfare programs. Conservatives and anarchist Americans abhor such a model and criticize it for curtailing individual rights.
Will Ferrell does not hate Norway. He pretended to do so in a Super Bowl commercial for GM in 2021.