In 2016, the Swedish Tourist Association (STF) launched “The Swedish Number” with support from Intelecom. The campaign let “people from all over the world to speak to a randomly selected Swede about anything.
- Callers from around the world connected with random Swedes who have signed up to be de facto ambassadors.
- The bold campaign offered a completely unfiltered view of Swedish life—regardless of the obvious risks.
- Overall, the campaign earned a massive 9.107 billion media impressions.
Client: Swedish Tourist Association
In 2012, Visit Sweden launched a unique tourism campaign online. It handed off the country’s official Twitter handle, @Sweden, to ordinary Swedes—and let them post more or less whatever they liked.
Very quickly, there were problems with provocative posts, but the country—convinced that transparency had more upsides than downsides—stuck with the “Curators of Sweden” program, and it continues today. But could they go one further and get people talking on the phone?
Solution: The Swedish Number
Now, a similar campaign aims to translate that same kind of experience to the telephone. In 2016, Sweden became the first country in the world with its very own telephone number.
“The Swedish Number,” which you can call at +46 771 793 336, connects callers from around the world with random Swedes who have signed up to be de facto ambassadors—but who’ve received no training whatsoever, and have been given no instructions about what to say (or perhaps more to the point, what not to say).
The opportunities for knowledge sharing are great. “Talk about northern lights, meatballs, politics, skiing,” it suggests. “Love, hiking, feminism, snow, gay rights, parental leave, suicide rates, the Nobel Prize, technology, crime novel, darkness, fashion, anything.”
The campaign was created by Ingo Stockholm, a WPP agency, for the Swedish Tourist Association—a different group than VisitSweden. The point is to offer a completely unfiltered view of Swedish life—regardless of the obvious risks. (The campaign also marks the 250th anniversary of the abolishment of censorship in Sweden.)
More than 11,000 calls had been received since 6 April, totalling more than 19 days and six hours of talk time. About 35% of calls had come from the US, followed by 21% from Turkey. The UK, Russia, and Australia followed.
The campaign received the prestigious Cannes Lion awards at the 2016 event.
Overall, the campaign earned a massive 9.107 billion media impressions