Harry Styles fans correctly guessed that mysterious travel ads for a fictional island were about the ‘Adore You’ music video

Side-by-side images of the Eroda tourism YouTube video and Harry Styles. Eroda Tourism Board, Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
  • Harry Styles released the music video for his song “Adore You” on Friday, and it took place on the fictional isle of Eroda.
  • Starting in late November, hundreds of social media users spotted targeted ads and promotional content for a tourism agency for Eroda – but quickly realised the isle didn’t exist.
  • Fans of singer Harry Styles began connecting the dots between Eroda’s tourism website and the ads. They correctly guessed that it was an Easter egg marketing campaign for his upcoming album “Fine Line.”
  • Here’s all the evidence that was compiled in the lead-up to the release of “Adore You.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Harry Styles fans were right: the mysterious travel ads for the fictional isle of Eroda were part of an Easter egg marketing campaign for the music video for “Adore You.” The video dropped Friday, and took place in Eroda, a town where everybody frowns.

Starting in late November, hundreds of social media users began questioning ads that had appeared on their social media feeds that encouraged them to travel to the island of Eroda.

The ads seem standard, with picturesque channels populated by sailboats, dreamy Nordic landscapes, and a website offering snippets about a local gift shop and a brewery.

The only strange thing about them? Eroda doesn’t actually exist.

Reverse-image searches from some of the promotional photos of landscapes and coastal towns from the “Visit Eroda” website and social media pages show that they were actually taken in Norway. A sponsored Facebook post from Eroda’s page shows a photo of a restaurant in Chagford, a town in England.

So what does it all mean? Why would some unnamed source pay to market a fake location?

Well, Harry Styles fans have an answer. They were among the people who got the targeted ads – likely on purpose – and quickly matched up the locations pictured and references in the ads and on the website to the singer, his recent activities, and his upcoming album, “Fine Line.” A Styles fan and Twitter user going by the handle @finelinelora put a theory together.

Harry styles
Does Harry Styles know something we don’t? Helene Marie Pambrun via Getty Images

Here’s a summary of the best clues connecting Eroda and Styles

  • The Eroda Twitter account launched in October, the same time Styles began promoting “Fine Line” and released the album’s first single, “Lights Up.”
  • One of the photos listed on the “Attractions” page of the website appears to be a cropped image of a location where Styles was spotted filming a mystery project, believed to be a music video, in Scotland.
  • “Eroda” spelled backward is “adore.” One of the tracks on “Fine Line” is called “Adore You.” There’s also a spot on the website that says “We adore you.”
  • Also on the “Attractions” page is a snippet that includes streets named “Cherry Street” and “Golden Way.” Two other tracks on the album are “Cherry” and “Golden.”
  • The website says the island’s youth wear bold hairstyles, and a photo taken of Styles and an actress on set in Scotland shows the woman with a very bold hairstyle.
  • Comments and reviews of the island popped up on its Facebook page from private accounts that reveal very few details about the people who own them. One person wrote that they’d be returning to Eroda on December 13, which is the day Styles’ album drops.
  • A promotional video for the album was uploaded to YouTube on November 23, and the voiceover sounds similar to the voice of a woman who recently joined Styles’ band.
  • When Styles’ fans used Facebook’s targeted ad features to see why it was recommended to them, some saw that the Eroda page is specifically targeting people who have also visited Styles’ website.

Those are just the most obvious clues. There are a lot more in the thread and beyond that seem to reference different aspects of the Styles fandom and Styles’ life.

Everything that has to do with the Eroda campaign surfaced on the internet in late 2019. The Twitter account joined the platform in October and its first tweet was on November 20. Its first Instagram post was November 13. The website says it’s copyright as of 2004, but two separate domain age tools say it was created within the past month.

Now that we know Eroda was a campaign for “Fine Line” all along, it’s clear that it was a phenomenal ad technique that hinged on the collective curiosity of the internet and the obsessive speculation of fandoms.

On Reddit alone, an “r/Eroda” subreddit joined more than 1,700 sleuthers trying to put all the puzzle pieces together.

People love to solve puzzles, and the marketing campaign is very well-done, with a satisfying twist ending in the “Adore You” music video. The added appeal of the mystery likely drew more listeners to Styles’ work, too, just in time for the album’s December 13 release date.

Representatives for Harry Styles didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.