Short List
Category B07. Use of Events & Stunts
Media Placement DAGMAR Helsinki, FINLAND
Production KLOK HELSINKI Helsinki, FINLAND
Additional Company FINAVIA Vantaa, FINLAND
Name Company Position
Katja Siberg Finavia VP Marketing, Corporate Communications and Customer Experience, CMO
Anna Tuomi Finavia Head of Marketing
Olli Lehtonen Finavia Digital Marketing Manager
Rosa Kojonkoski Finavia Project Manager
Mikko Pietilä TBWA\Helsinki Executive Creative Director
Simone Bocedi TBWA\Helsinki Senior Content Strategist
Virpi Grönlund TBWA\Helsinki Client Partner
Antti Halme TBWA\Helsinki Senior Copywriter
Matti Virtanen TBWA\Helsinki Art Director
Annika Wikstén TBWA\Helsinki Account Manager
Henrietta Tastula TBWA\Helsinki Content Producer
Eemeli Tani TBWA\Helsinki Campaign Analyst
Iiro Hokkanen TBWA\Helsinki Director
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\Helsinki Chief Creative Officer
Mikko Kylämä TBWA\Helsinki Senior Developer
Maria Dunaeva TBWA\Helsinki Graphic Designer
Juhana Hokkanen TBWA\Helsinki Head of Innovation technology
Nana Paja TBWA\Helsinki Account Director
Heikki Laine KLOK Helsinki Senior Producer
Pekka Ala-Seppälä KLOK Helsinki Production Manager
Juha Lahti KLOK Helsinki Director
Jukka Rouhuvirta KLOK Helsinki DOP
Eero Lehtinen KLOK Helsinki Editor
Katarzyna Kosieradrazka KLOK Helsinki Sound operator
Gary Carter KLOK Helsinki Creative Consultant
Riikka Hallenberg Dagmar Account Director
Joe Woods Dagmar Digital Manager
Roosa Räsänen Dagmar Digital Planner
Lauri Permanto Dagmar Digital Planner
Miia Elonen Dagmar Social Media Planner

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Ryan’s story is a real, universal, human tale: that of a guy stuck inside the airport. It is easy to relate to him: we have all been there, just not for 720 hours. It is also Helsinki Airport's ultimate test: is it so good you can have someone living there and review it live on social media? #LIFEINHEL is about a guy living in an airport and at the same time is about lifting the image of that airport through a reality TV show. Finavia pursued risky complete transparency, with no control or censorship to the published material.


Finnish airport operator Finavia has put much effort on customer experience in recent years, resulting in Helsinki Airport being awarded as the best airport in the world (Travellink 2017). However, Helsinki Airport is still widely unknown globally and especially in China, Finavia's fastest growing market. The number of Chinese passengers has increased steadily in the past years, and they are now the primary target group for the airport’s services. How do we communicate with Chinese travelers that Helsinki Airport is the best choice for a stopover airport on their way to Europe? How do we increase Finavia's brand awareness in China and globally? Among other KPIs, the aim was to reach at least 5 million people and accumulate 1,5 million views on the daily episodes. The more people hear and write about Helsinki Airport’s excellence, the better it is for business, meaning an increased number of passengers and airlines.

Describe the creative idea

People hate being stuck at airports: the longer the stay, the worse it gets. But what if the airport was so good, you never wanted to leave? #LIFEINHEL was a disruptive online airport reality show, where “The Terminal” and “The Truman Show” met “Survivor”. Chinese movie actor Ryan Zhu lived inside Helsinki Airport for 30 days to test and review its services. His adventures were published as daily reality episodes to social media. It is not uncommon to use influencers for PR and branded content, but Helsinki Airport gave Ryan complete freedom to publish his own content for the whole month. It was a daring and unprecedented act, and media around the world were excited about it

Describe the strategy

Our key target audiences were 1) potential passengers: 25+ years old modern, trend-savvy Chinese travelers, who live in the cities and have purchasing power. 2) airline route planners, who would consider opening new routes to/via Helsinki. The PR strategy was carried out in different phases: We reached out to journalists and bloggers with the launch of the campaign. During the campaign, we created different PR angles based on recurring themes among the target groups - Travel bloggers, Foodies, Film & ad industry, General media, Aviation industry media. We gave the campaign a definite conclusion with Ryan’s final report, a documentary which was submitted to TV channels. Finavia pursued full transparency in Ryan's communication, so no control or censorship was applied in the posts he or other key opinion leaders made on social media.

Describe the execution

Active PR seeding proved to be a crucial part of the campaign. We sent out four different waves of press releases throughout the campaign: 1. Launch: introducing our hero and revealing interesting facts about him and the campaign mechanics. 2. Ryan arriving in Helsinki Airport: experiences of cultural shocks and getting familiar with his new home 3. Half-way there: Difficulties of living in the airport, like lack of sleep, big crowds and so on. He also had completed many fun and unique challenges. 4. 30 days in HEL: did he survive and how did he grade and review Helsinki Airport? We also actively contacted reporters who wrote about the campaign and organized several follow-up interviews: CNN, Sina.com, and others flew in to interview Ryan. Finavia pursued full transparency in Ryan's communication, so no control or censorship was applied to the material he, journalists or crucial other opinion leaders published.

List the results

Without a significant media budget, we relied on active PR seeding and efficient influencer mechanics to reach a staggering 2.4 billion people worldwide, 81,7% of which in China, our primary target market. The videos were watched over 13.8 million times altogether but what was remarkable was the number of engagements: 135 000 across all channels, with more than 11 500 comments, 98% of which had positive sentiment. 488 articles were written around the world for a worth of €17 million in editorial earned media value. The original KPI set by the client was exceeded by 3400%. More than half of these articles were published in China. Some of the most important media outlet writing about #LIFEINHEL were the Chinese 163.com, Sina.com, Baidu, Vogue, GQ, and Elle, reaching 1.83 billion people. In the western media the most prominent articles were featured on CNN, MSN, Business Insider, AdWeek, Lonely Planet and in national papers in Italy and France. The campaign was featured in all of the most watched news and radio broadcasts in Finland, Italy, Germany, and Spain. #LIFEINHEL has also impacted the lives of everyday passengers at Helsinki Airport. Ryan's feedback is set to bring permanent changes to the airport infrastructure, enhancing especially the services available to Chinese travelers. With the campaign, Helsinki Airport attracted positive buzz and succeeded in standing out from its competitors in a unique way. Businesswise a great win was that during the campaign, Finavia signed a contract with a new Chinese airline partner Lucky Air.