Meet Norwegian bride-to-be Thea. On her blog, she’s posting photos of her wedding dress and cake and the church where she’ll soon get married. The only problem is Thea is 12 years old, and the groom is 36. Okay, so Thea and her groom aren’t real. It was ad campaign developed by child-aid organization Plan Norway. And it was effective. When people learned about the blog, they assumed Thea was real and called the police and child services. How could a girl so young be permitted to marry? And in progressive and prosperous Norway?
Plan Norway designed the campaign to raise awareness of a very real problem. 39,000 underage girls are forced into marriages every day, even though it is illegal according to the United Nations. Plan Norway secretary general Olaf Thommessen said, “rather than show girls from Bangladesh or Tanzania that were actually affected by these unfair marriage practices, the point was to put the issue into a context that Norwegians could relate to. And to shock them into action.” October 11 is Thea’s big day.