Category F02. Costs / Creative Performance PR Campaign
Name Company Position
Taneli Mattelmäki TBWA\Helsinki Business Partner
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\Helsinki Executive Creative Director
Jeroen van Hove TBWA\Helsinki Chief Data Officer
Juhana Hokkanen TBWA\Helsinki Head of Creative Technology
Pia Grekula TBWA\Helsinki Art Director
Ville Ohtonen TBWA\Helsinki Copywriter
Simone Bocedi TBWA\Helsinki Creative Content Strategist
Janni Widerholm TBWA\Helsinki Creative Content Strategist
Nea Astala TBWA\Helsinki Data Analyst
Sanni Salminen TBWA\Helsinki Graphic Designer
Tuukka Laitinen TBWA\Helsinki Editor
Tobias Andersson TBWA\Helsinki Editor
Mark Stroman McGhee Entertainment SVP Sales & Marketing
Pia Lindroos LiveNation Marketing Manager
Mikko Junttila ToinenPHD Account Manager
Mikko Vieri VR Social Media Specialist
Anne Kankaanpää VR Campaign Planner
Sara Kontio VR Marketing Planner
Henna Norberg VR Communications Manager

The Campaign

When VR heard, that the epic heavy band KISS was arriving in town, it connected the dots: the band AND the statues are both “men of rock”. VR realized, that merging Finns’ metal enthusiasm with VR’s own brand symbol in a highly surprising and concrete manner would result in wide spread positive attention.

The Brief

The campaign cost 36 000 €, which included the four (plus two spares, just in case…) 3D printed masks, the paint, the fork lift as well as the face paint and other event material on the concert day.


First VR invited Finnish KISS fans to enter a competition. The main prize was the permit to paint the four 3D printed masks. After going through thousands of applications from eager KISS fans, we selected four of them to do the painting. A week before the KISS concert we attached the masks on the statues, so that everyone had ample time to check and selfie them. The masks became a temporary landmark sight, everyone in Helsinki wanted to see them. On the concert day we invited the band to visit the statues, and they were more than willing to arrive. They were so impressed with the gigantic masks, that they asked VR to donate them to tour the various KISS Expo’ of the world. Through each and every step of the process we carefully fed PR to press nationally and internationally.

Men of Rock become the most covered Finnish campaign in Finnish media, ever. 265 articles were released, including all 10 of the 10 biggest newspapers, the two biggest tv news channels and all national radio channels. Needless to say, Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram went crazy. The campaign, that only cost 36 000 €, reached 196 000 000 impressions and earned media value was 6 733 356 € – over 187 times the campaign costs. And most importantly: all the media coverage and social media discussion was positive for the VR brand – the total opposite of the negative tone of the recent years.

The Situation

With Men of Rock VR created a PR topic, that spread across all Finnish major newspapers, radio channels and tv news stations. The campaign had zero media costs, instead it focused on carefully crafting the press releases and other PR material accordingly for each journalist group: heavy metal media, travel bloggers, general media, viral media etc. And for Finnish media (which reached the campaign’s real target group, Finns) the main message was all along “VR has been noticed in international media”. Men of Rock proved, that well executed PR can make a significant and cost-efficient impact.

The Strategy

As VR is the National Railway company, its target audience is more or less the entire population of Finland. The best (and cheapest!) way to reach them all, was to create something, that would have the national press and Finns in social media talk about it. We first fed our PR material to international press. Moreover, we negotiated with KISS, that they would release the material first, in their social channels. This way we got international media to cover “Finland creating the ultimate KISS tribute”. As soon as the international news spread, Finnish media got excited. “VR has made the news abroad” was all over national media for three weeks in a row. Our only “media ad placement” were the four KISS masks placed on the faces of the Men of Rock statues, Helsinki’s most central sight, located at the main railway station.