THE NEW STANDARD SWEDISH

ClientLERNIA
Category B07. Media Relations
TitleTHE NEW STANDARD SWEDISH
Product/ServiceLERNIA ADULT EDUCATION AND RECRUITMENT SERVICE
Entrant JUNG RELATIONS Stockholm, SWEDEN
Idea Creation JUNG RELATIONS Stockholm, SWEDEN
Media Placement JUNG RELATIONS Stockholm, SWEDEN
PR JUNG RELATIONS Stockholm, SWEDEN
Production JUNG RELATIONS Stockholm, SWEDEN
Production 2 SLUTET ÄR NÄRA Stockholm, SWEDEN
Credits
Name Company Position
Ebba Hultengren Jung Relations Creative Director
Nicolina Jonsson Jung Relations Planner
Johan Nyman Jung Relations Project Manager/Advisor
Jens Hollingby Jung Relations PR Manager
Martin Ödman Jung Relations Project Manager
Jasmine Falk Jung Relations Junior Advisor

The Campaign

As it turns out, 72% of all Swede’s believe that having an accent will affect a job applicant negatively (in other EU countries only 36% believe accents have a negative effect). To get people to question their bias towards immaculate pronunciation we went ahead and changed the foundation of what a perfect Swedish accent is. We created the “New Standard Swedish”. Together with a professor in linguistics from Stockholm University, we morphed together different accents from around the country to create one collective Swedish voice. Traditionally a standard language is free of all accents, but this voice-sample instead embraced all language variations. We called it the “New Standard Swedish”. Our aim was never to change our standard language. Instead, we wanted to make Swedes aware of how diversified our language is today and that it’s more important to change how we listen, than how we talk.

Execution

We launched the initiative in three stages: 1) Teaser: Lernia suggested to change the standard language in a press release sent out to key national media and local media to get the buzz going. 2) Launch: Lernia releases a voice-sample of the “New Standard Swedish” together with information on how people are being excluded from the labor market due to their accent (not because they lack talent or competence). A broad media outreach is conducted with more voice-samples and a making-of video. 3) Follow up: Lernia’s key spokespersons talk to media and discuss how we all need to change how we listen, not how we talk. Continuous media contact was coordinated by us to steer the discussion and clarify any messages gone awry. Lernia continuously posted news and answered questions on their Facebook-page. Lernia in only active on the Swedish market, so no international media were contacted for this campaign.

Tier 1 • Earned media reach: 64 million (population: 10 million) in national and local print, online, TV, podcasts, radio and social media. All media accounted for mention both “Lernia” and the “New Standard Swedish”. • Lernia’s digital press room received 1100 % more traffic than usual. • High profile editorials discussed the problem with unjust bias against accents in job interviews. • Local spokespersons and Lernia’s CEO were interviewed in local and national media. • As expected, the initiative met resistance from right wing media. They claimed that Lernia was destroying the Swedish language. Mainstream media however defended the idea that everyone has the right to get a job regardless of accent and described the voice as a symbol for a more open society and inclusive labor market. • The campaign was discussed in the Swedish Parliament and defended by the Minister of Enterprise and Innovation. Tier 2 • Google trends: searches for ”Lernia” and ”Standard Swedish” reached an all-time high (both searches scored 100 in interest, never reaching above 25/50 over the past ten years). • Youtube: the making-of video was on the top 10 list of trending videos in Sweden. • 3 companies joined: The Scouts used the voice for their answering-machine, Stockholm University Library used the voice to announce closing times and Virserums Art Gallery is using the voice in an exhibition. • Visitors to the “New Standard Swedish” landing page on lernia.se stayed for an average of 13 min (compared to Lernia’s 1m30s average).

The Situation

A strong idea and PR-craftsmanship resulted in coverage in Swedish media during several weeks. Lernia was positioned as a modern, inclusive and forward-thinking actor on the education and labor market. The “New Standard Swedish” brought new life to ongoing societal discussions in media by forcing people to face their bias straight on. Not everyone loved the campaign – but Swede’s bias was suddenly out in the open and up for discussion and improvement. Discussions spread from traditional media to the most popular podcasts to people’s kitchen tables. The campaign was eventually even discussed in the Swedish parliament.

The Strategy

We needed to target key stakeholders in HR and education departments in the public and private sector who purchase Lernia’s education programs. They are influenced by on-going societal discussions – so main stream media (newspapers, life style magazines, podcasts, morning television and radio) and social media were target media for the campaign. Lernia has offices all over the country – so local media was also an important target media. To add news value we based our idea on a credible survey, collaborated with a renowned linguist from Stockholm University and launched the voice together with two clients who both received tailored messages with the “New Standard Swedish” voice. Our roll out plan was built on the assumption that people would react strongly to hearing weird sounding Swedish in an official context – giving Lernia a chance to tap into the debates that would surface.