CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: WHAT’S HOT IN SWEDEN

Despite growing public interest in the Swedish advertising industry, with creative agencies and production companies gaining international recognition (and accounts), advertising news seldom makes its way into the national media here. But there is one recurring exception - nudity and sex.

Despite growing public interest in the Swedish advertising

industry, with creative agencies and production companies gaining

international recognition (and accounts), advertising news seldom makes

its way into the national media here. But there is one recurring

exception - nudity and sex.



Sweden’s most controversial event took place last month with a campaign

that dominated the media for more than a week. The mission of the white

collar union TCO’s advertising, created by The e company of Stockholm,

was to initiate debate on discrimination against women in the workplace.

They earn lower wages and have fewer career opportunities.



By enlarging certain letters in the ad’s text, the only words visible

from a distance were three rude descriptions of the male organ. Outdoor

posters all over Sweden suddenly screamed obscenities, and the tabloids

reacted with war-size headlines. Some newspapers refused to publish the

ads, while the posters were censored in some cities.



So instead of focusing on the crucial issue of sexual discrimination,

the campaign managed to create media space for the rapidly growing moral

majority. TCO gained the attention but it also incited contempt from the

Swedish public, who felt that the message got lost in the media hoopla.

Personally, I think the campaign sucked.



A more elegant way of using sex as an active ingredient is demonstrated

in the new film for H&M’s jeans brand, Rocky, created by

Hollingworth/Mehrotra.



This is the latest in a series of jeans commercials held together by the

’bad idea’ concept. It shows a young couple preparing to get intimate in

the girl’s narrow bed while her middle-aged parents sulkily withdraw to

their more luxurious sleeping quarters.



The ’bad idea’ occurs when the brash young man suddenly slams open the

door and suggests that he and the daughter swap beds with the

parents ...



Another ad popular with a broad Swedish audience is the charming

campaign for the electricity provider, Vattenfall, created by OCH, an

agency which, unfortunately, was dissolved at the beginning of 1999.

Shot in the style of a 50s film noir, this sophisticated and different

commercial evolves around the immensely popular Swedish musician, Povel

Ramel, performing a parody of one of his biggest hits.



With a few words changed, the well- known song lyric becomes a tribute

to the wonders of electricity (’two holes in the wall’). Elegant and

eclectic, this puts Vattenfall in pole position when the Swedish power

industry is deregulated later this year.



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