Category B01. Brand-led Education & Awareness
Entrant ALKO Helsinki, FINLAND
Media Placement DAGMAR Helsinki, FINLAND
Name Company Position
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\HELSINKI Chief Creative Officer
Juha-Matti Raunio TBWA\Helsinki Executive Account Director
Ella Komulainen TBWA\Helsinki Account Director
Ville Ohtonen TBWA\HELSINKI Creative Director
Otto Kilpiö TBWA\Helsinki Copywriter
Lasse Kangasmaa TBWA\Helsinki Senior Creative
Atso Wilen TBWA\Helsinki Designer
Calle Mosander TBWA\Helsinki Senior Creative
Pauliina Perkiö TBWA\Helsinki Creative Content Strategist
Rosa Kojonkoski TBWA\Helsinki Project Coordinator
Suvi Höytö TBWA\Helsinki Designer Trainee
Anna Lahikainen TBWA\Helsinki Designer Trainee
Lasse Perälampi TBWA\Helsinki Junior Copywriter
Lara Ala-Olla TBWA\Helsinki Designer
Laura Karppanen TBWA\Helsinki Production Coordinator Trainee
Anton Raappana TBWA\Helsinki Editor Trainee
Fanny Haga TBWA\Helsinki Photographer
Tuukka Tikkanen TBWA\Helsinki Production Manager
Mikko Kuoppasalmi TBWA\Helsinki Editor, Photographer
Lisa Myllymäki TBWA\Helsinki Editor
Iiro Hokkanen TBWA\Helsinki Director
Sini Teppola TBWA\Helsinki Creative
Eemeli Tani TBWA\Helsinki Performance & Analytics Manager
Nelli Pätäri TBWA\Helsinki Insight Trainee
Timo Silvennoinen Merikallio&Son Creative Director
Marja Aho Alko Sustainability Manager
Maritta Iso-Aho Alko EVP, Communication
Sari Karjalainen Alko Marketing Manager
Iiris Mikkonen Alko Communications Specialist
Päivi Sippo Alko Marketing Specialist
Kasper Kukkonen Alko Category Manager
Virpi Valtonen Alko CSR Specialist
Saara Kaihlanen Alko Communications Specialist
Jenni Törmä Alko Marketing Designer
Minna Alitalo Alko EVP, Purchases
Mikko Vormala Pinata Director, Lead Animator
Henri Tani Pinata Director, Lead Animator
Jani Toikka Pinata 3D Artist
Sakari Hakkarainen Pinata 3D Artist
Veikko Somerma Pinata Retouching
Harri Hännikäinen Pinata Producer
Tuomas Seppänen Humina Sound Design
Elina Fronzek Dagmar Client Director
Ina Viljanen Dagmar Client Manager
Hanna-Stiina Lindström Dagmar Digital Planner
Ulla-Maija Mäkinen Dagmar Media Planner

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Alko is a Finnish authority who prevents alcohol abuse in Finland. Instead of a conventional advertising campaign, Alko created a phenomenon that became nationwide news and engaging topic in social media all over the country. The In-Between Water was one of the most discussed products of the year in Finland, and it was covered in all ten of the largest national newspapers and reached over 29 million people – that’s over 5 times Finland’s population.


Alko is a Finnish authority who prevents alcohol abuse in Finland. The brief was to come up with an impactful approach that would inspire all Finnish adults to observe their drinking habits and encourage moderate drinking. Alcohol use has always been prohibited, demonized and criticized – in propaganda, movies and marketing communication. Alko decided to break the old conventions and spread alcohol awareness in an inspiring and encouraging way – in a way that would completely change the way Alko approaches the issue.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

To remind Finns to drink moderately, Alko brought a new drink to the table. This year, Alko launched its own water brand called Välivesi (“The In-Between Water”) – and it was sold only in liquor stores. The In-Between Water is a literal translation from a common Finnish word “välivesi” – “väli” meaning in-between, and “vesi” meaning water. The word is generally used to remind someone to have a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. Basically, that’s Alko’s key message coded inside the witty little word. As there’s no better place to get people to think about their drinking habits than the point of sale in a liquor store, the In-Between Waters were sold exclusively in liquor stores. To highlight Alko’s key message even more, the products were shelved in between of alcoholic beverages.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

To persuade someone to have less of something they like (alcohol) is more difficult than persuading to have more of something they like (water). Alko chose the latter. The launch had two target groups: Finnish adults and all the media outlets of the country. For both, the message had to be catchy, concise and unexpected. Because the Finnish word “välivesi” is already used to Alko’s advantage, the company decided to take ownership of it. The product itself was the key message – and all Finnish liquor stores became its messengers.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

A successful PR launch is a lot about timing. The product launch was scheduled to the beginning of summer, and summer is often flooded with all sorts of beverages launches. Alko needed to be first. The press releases were sent in May, a full month before the actual products would hit the shelves. All the main news outlets and local papers across Finland were contacted. At first, many media outlets thought the In-Between Water was a joke, which worked for Alko’s advantage and only increased the heated discussion around the product. Soon after, in June, Finnish liquor stores one by one took the In-Between Water to their selection.

List the results (30% of vote)

The In-Between Water became a social phenomenon: Finns made taste tests, bottle cap challenges – even a song – and started reminding each other to drink water between alcoholic beverages. The In-Between Water was the third most discussed product of 2019 in Finland (only behind Beyond Meat’s arrival to Finland and Samsung’s new smartphone release). The In-Between Water got 51 media hits in Finland and was covered in all ten of the largest national newspapers, TV and radio channels. With earned media, the product reached 29,395,076 Finns – over 5 times Finland’s population. Earned media value was €271,905. The In-Between Water rose the sales of the whole non-alcoholic category in liquor stores by 587%. Demand was so high, liquor stores had to order more to keep up with it. The In-Between Water changed the way Alko approaches alcohol abuse awareness completely.