2019 Glass: The Award for Change


Category A01. Glass
Name Company Position
Netta Alaranta Drama Queen Communications Account Director
Matias Mero Drama Queen Communications CEO
Kai Seppänen Drama Queen Communications Art Director
Annika Ohtonen Drama Queen Communications Copywriter
Noora Orlimo Drama Queen Communications Communications Consultant
Outi Laakso Drama Queen Communications Designer


Service station chain NesteK is half-owned by 2 Finnish corporations: Neste and KGroup. KGroup is a trading sector pioneer, operating in grocery, technical and car trade. Neste creates sustainable fuels for transport and consumer needs, with a wide range of renewables. Both corporations are heavily invested in responsibility; for example KGroup works systematically to promote opportunities for women and girls wherever they operate. Brief was to plan how NesteK would take its female customers and entrepreneurs (33% of the service stations are run by women) into consideration on International Women's Day. The message is that everyone should feel equally welcome as a customer or entrepreneur, regardless of gender. Strategic objective was to position NesteK service stations as frontrunner of gender-equality among the male-dominant transport industry in Finland. We wanted to break gender bias by empowering women, and to gain awareness and comprehensive visibility in earned media for our cause.

Describe the cultural / social / political climate in your region and the significance of your campaign within this context

Car, driving and transport related products and services have been a very masculine world for decades. This perception has changed more slowly than the number of women drivers has increased. Because of this, also car and traffic-related communication often resonates less with women – although almost exactly half of Finnish driving license holders are women. We wanted to empower women, give them credit for taking the wheel - both literally and metaphorically. Finland enjoys broad freedom of the press as well as legal gender equality. This means: 1. All the earned media coverage really needs to be earned 2. When someone raises discriminatory attitudes or structures against women as a subject of speech, let alone confesses as a feminist, it often causes negative attitudes: “Things are worse elsewhere, it is pointless to complain”. The core of our idea was to give new, positive meanings to the usually disdainfully used phrase "Woman behind the Wheel". By approaching the task through research and a positive approach instead of blaming anyone, we were able to raise the issue both in social media and in the press. Women all around the country celebrated the opportunity of making their everyday experiences visible and heard.

Describe the creative idea

"Yet another woman behind the wheel" is a classic comment in Finland, when anyone stumbles in traffic – but interestingly enough, it is statistically more often a male driver who will have an accident. Women and cars are linked to each other in a joke and to mock women drivers, even though the wording itself is fundamentally neutral. The phrase, and the quest of changing its meaning, became the very core of our campaign: We want to give the phrase "Woman behind the Wheel" new positive meanings and connotations, so that in the future, instead of bad jokes it evokes the idea of a confident woman going her own way in life.

Describe the strategy

The campaign had two target groups: 1. All the present and future women drivers 2. People with prejudices against women’s driving skills As the purpose of the campaign was to affect opinions, our main strategy was to stimulate public discussion on the subject. In addition, we encouraged people to participate in the discussion. By this, we wanted to empower women and to make people consider their own attitudes. To prove our hypothesis, we conducted a study, according to which more than a third of women have experienced prejudice about their driving skills. Free-form responses indicated that the phrase "woman behind the wheel" evoked a lot of negative associations. Backed by research, we launched a strong communication campaign that highlighted the issue and gained a lot of earned media exposure. Communication was supported by many celebrities and influencers who participated pro bono.

Describe the execution

We planned a well-timed communication approach for International Women's Day with a close-to-zero media budget. We wanted to influence people's attitudes quickly and efficiently. This is best done through opinion leaders, reliable media and peer-to-peer content. Therefore, research-based communication, pro bono influencer collaborations, and social media activism were chosen as the means. These activations were lightly supported with selected promoted social media content and print advertising. On social media, we published a film with Finnish celebrities talking (pro bono!) about women who had steered the direction of their own lives. The heart-warming stories ranged from Madonna to mothers to spouses, and helped us get awareness for our cause. In print advertising, we highlighted the female entrepreneurs of the stations, encouraging women to take the wheel both literally and metaphorically.

Describe the results / impact

The highly focused solution produced excellent results: over 5M earned media reach, 0,5M earned social media reach, almost 24 000 social media interactions. The campaign gained more than ten times worth of media exposure compared to its budget (total spend on media was only 16 500 €: paid social reach: 372 444; paid print reach: 447 000). Campaign gathered massive support for our cause in the form of thousands of positive comments, likes, shares and audience-generated content. This demonstrates a strong commitment to our campaign and its goals. With the help of the campaign, Neste K has positioned as the frontrunner of gender equality among the male-dominant transport industry. Best news? Our audience was inspired to produce content that will genuinely shape attitudes. Whereas previously a search for the Finnish hashtag #nainenratissa (#WomanBehindtheWheel) brought up only rare and negative content, after our campaign the results are completely different.