Category B01. Corporate Image, Communication & Reputation Management
Entrant VOLT Stockholm, SWEDEN
Idea Creation VOLT Stockholm, SWEDEN
Name Company Position
Jörgen Berglund Volt Creative Director
Johanna Johansson Volt Art Director
Daniel Jakobsson Volt Copywriter
Petter Nylind Volt Copywriter
Camilla Ryttare Volt Production Manager
Åsa Stjärnquist Volt Final Art
Malin Almqvist Volt Project Manager
Cornelia Wangel Volt Planner
Henrik Stampe Volt Account Director
Martina Larsson Volt PR Strategist

Why is this work relevant for PR?

With only one image, the right tone of voice, expression and timing, we managed to create a wide spread of attention for the Swedish Armed Forces and the values they defend, both nationally and internationally. In 113 countries to be exact. The campaign was covered in newspapers, radio, television, social media and even spread by different politicians highlighting the excellent execution. We created debate all over the world – where the message that the SwAF stand up for the equal worth of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression – was loud and clear.


Background and situation: The Swedish Armed Forces mission is to defend Sweden, the country’s interests, our freedoms, and the right to live as we choose. To show that they stand up for the values they’re tasked with defending, and to show that they are an inclusive workplace – they have been proud participants of the Pride festival since the turn of the millennium. However, this year’s festival was extra special since Sweden also was the host of EuroPride. Brief: Our brief was to create a create a campaign that shows that The Swedish Armed Forces stand up for the equal worth of all people whatever their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Objectives: To make a statement with the potential to echo across Europe, that shows that The Swedish Armed Forces stand up for the equal worth of all people and the values they’re tasked with defending.

Describe the creative idea

Usually when The Swedish Armed Forces put paint in their faces it is to camouflage themselves. This time they wanted to do the opposite – they wanted to be seen. Using rainbow camouflage together with the copy “We don’t always march straight” the idea was to challenge the perception of a known phenomenon and the general perception of the military.

Describe the strategy

Target audience: Primary: The participants of the festival – locals as well as international visitors. Secondary: The public in Sweden and in Europe, decision makers, politicians and influencers. Target media: Social- as well as traditional media in Sweden as well as Europe. Also far-right sites where the message was needed the most. PR planning: To set the tone at the actual location of the festival we early on bought a spot in the Pride edition of free and local newspaper Metro, available for all people. And on billboards around the festival. Since it was EuroPride we also chose to do the ad in English – securing both possible local-, as well as international spread. To capture the ones that was more interested we also created a campaign site. Approach: One image complemented with a strong copy to convey a statement that couldn’t be overlooked.

Describe the execution

To build up interest we published the ad on the opening day of the Pride week. It was immediately photographed by participants and posted on Twitter where it woke the interest of well-known LGBT-persons and party leaders. The debate took off – some meaning it was a political statement. Now national media picked it up – asking for comments. Naturally, we had prepared an answer: “… Some people have seen this as a political statement. It isn’t for us. It is simply human rights.” Said Nemo Stjernström, project leader, The Swedish Armed Forces. A couple of days later as the actual parade was coming up we enhanced the spread and captured the current debate by also posting the ad on all social media channels. The posts quickly filled with comments and it even led to a Twitter debate in Australia about whether their army should be promoting gay-rights or not.

List the results

Reach social media: 57 million Reach media: 24 million Increase of engagement separate post: Facebook: 323% Twitter: 2145% Instagram: 276% Different nationalities visiting campaign site: 113 Articles and headlines national media houses such as: • “The Swedish Armed Forces are celebrated for their Pride Campaign, clear statement” – Aftonbladet • “The Swedish Armed Forces campaign evokes feelings – “powerful” – Svenska Dagbladet ” • “The Swedish Armed Forces are celebrated for their Pride Campaign” Sveriges Radio Articles and headlines international media houses such as: • “Swedish Armed Forces celebrates Pride with Rainbow camo…” – The world’s most read LGBT + digital media publisher, Pink News. • ”Shelton: Swedish army is ramming political agenda down people’s throats” – Out in Perth ” Articles and headlines Swedish and European far right sites such as: ” The Armed Forces stand up for the gay lobby” – Nordfront (Swedish) ”De-politize The Armed Forces” – Alternativ för Sverige (Swedish) ”Sweden has reached its bottom” – Novorosinform.org (Russian) Responses on SoMe politicians and decision makers in Sweden such as: • “This makes me proud about Sweden” – Center party leader, Annie Lööf • “My army” – Left wing party leader, Jonas Sjöstedt • “"... It's a cool and positive opinion-generating signal ..." – Christian democrat party leader, Ebba Busch Thor • “POWERFUL”– LGBT - profile, Daniel Paris (+46K followers – Twitter) • “The equal wort of all people isn’t politics – it is a given” – Famous political TVs pokesperson, Marcus Oscarsson (+416K followers – Facebook)