Say hello to Sweden

At adHOME, we applaud innovative thinking. Creative and unconventional strategy that leaves a lasting impression.

The country of Sweden’s campaign initiatives are great examples of this out of the box thinking. This week, we looked at Sweden’s story and it’s unique strategy to put itself on the map.

It all started with a simple idea, to give the public of Sweden access to the country’s Twitter handle, allowing them to tell their stories. The original curators of the @Sweden Twitter account handed over full access to someone with no government connections. (Or experience representing an entire country, for that matter!)

Regardless of the risks, Sweden thought the best way to represent their country would be by giving control of their online presence to average citizens, unlike the controlled marketing efforts cultivated by most countries.

Visit Sweden and The Swedish Institute collaborated on the project. They wanted to showcase the authentic and diverse culture of Sweden in a national digital campaign that would change the way people think about the country.

“Instead of using Twitter as a channel for controlled marketing messages, we invited citizens to share their view of Sweden and showed that there is no one image of Sweden but a mosaic of different, uncensored, views,” Visit Sweden’s U.S Manager, Lotta Thiringer said.

The campaign received major audience engagement for the country, a large percentage being tourism-related content. The media coverage of this project alone earned Sweden approximately $40 million worth of free publicity. The campaign truly showcased Sweden as an diverse and innovative country. The campaign even won the Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes in 2012 for agency Volontaire.

Many countries followed suit with this type of creative campaign strategy:


But the campaign didn’t stop there. In an effort to offer a completely unfiltered view of Swedish life to honour their anniversary of eradicating censorship, so they launched “The Swedish Number.

To bring the campaign idea to fruition, the Swedish Tourist Association and creative agency, INGO Stockholm came together with Intelcom, an industry leader in contact solutions to create a massive switchboard with the capability of receiving incoming calls 24/7.

Here’s how it works: anyone living outside of Sweden can dial the “Swedish Number.” Then they’re connected to a random Swede who signed up to answer for Sweden. What happens next all depends on who you get on the phone. Regardless, the campaign aimed to promote Sweden across the globe, while reinforcing a sense of pride among its citizens.

The result? Over 18,000 citizens have signed up to answer for Sweden, with a total of 131,371 incoming calls since April 6th, 2016.

In a world where digital marketing has taken precedence, real conversation has become more important than ever before. Sweden’s creative campaign idea has reminded us that unfiltered, one-on-one communication is still a traditional but effective tactic in fostering brand engagement.