Short List
Category B08. Use of Celebrity, Influencers & Key Opinion Leaders
Media Placement IUM FINLAND Helsinki, FINLAND
Name Company Position
Mertsi Ärling Diak (Diaconia University of Applied Science) Project Manager
Niina Mäenpää Diak (Diaconia University of Applied Science) Communications Expert
Mertsi Lindgren Diak (Diaconia University of Applied Science) Project Manager
Joni Auvinen Diak (Diaconia University of Applied Science) Trainee
Sami Tikkanen TBWA\HELSINKI Chief Executive Officer
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\HELSINKI Chief Creative Officer
Ville Ohtonen TBWA\HELSINKI Creative Director
Aki Toivonen TBWA\HELSINKI Creative Content Strategist
Tuomas Perälä TBWA\HELSINKI Copywriter
Petri Sarkalahti TBWA\Helsinki Project Manager
Jesse Korhonen TBWA\Helsinki Insight Analyst
Timo Klemola TBWA\HELSINKI Designer
Miika Luoma TBWA\HELSINKI Director, Media & Audiences
Laura Paikkari TBWA\HELSINKI Creative Director
Erno Reinikainen TBWA\HELSINKI Creative Director
Ville Kontiainen TBWA\HELSINKI Copywriter trainee
Sami Kelahaara TBWA\HELSINKI Senior Creative
Joonas Hokka TBWA\HELSINKI Creative Content Strategist
Hamy Ramezan TBWA\SCREEN Director
Arsen Sarkisiants TBWA\SCREEN DOP
Niko Hatara TBWA\SCREEN Producer
Jari Lähteinen TBWA\SCREEN Producer
Donna Maimon TBWA\SCREEN Production Manager
Anssi Mahlamäki TBWA\SCREEN Motion Designer
Marja Uski IUM Finland Head of Client Unit
Kaisu Luukinen IUM Finland Social Media Planner
Aleksi Ylitalo IUM Finland Programmatic Planner
Emmi Vilkanen IUM Finland Programmatic Planner
Meri-Tuuli Väntsi - Influencer
Jari Sarasvuo - Influencer
Tuomas Enbuske - Influencer
Anne Kukkohovi - Influencer
Meeri Koutaniemi - Photographer
Heli Mäenpää Bang Bang Producer

Why is this work relevant for PR?

To change the public perception and opinion about the employment situation of the Romani minority, we needed to get the press to write and social media talk about our campaign. Most importantly we aimed to influence the decision makers about the situation. That’s why, instead of an advertising campaign, we created a social media experiment followed by a carefully created PR plan. The fact that even Finland’s top experts can’t get a job, if they apply for it with Romani names, was newsworthy in itself.


The inequality faced by the Romani in Finnish society is a complex and centuries-old issue. In working life, the first element one comes across with is the applicant’s name. Even with an impressive CV, it is nearly impossible to get into a job interview if you have a typical Romani name. Nevo Tiija is a project administered by Diak (Diaconia University of Applied Science) that aspires to improve the role of the Romani minority in Finnish working life. Diak needed to raise nationwide awareness of the discrimination of Romani people, especially in employment.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Numerous studies prove, that the discrimination of Romani in the work life is deeply rooted and the prejudices are very strong: up to 60% of Romani are unemployed. Despite the outrageous figures, these studies have not raised a wider public discussion. To make the majority face their own prejudices in a more relatable way, we turned the tables: we invited four of Finland’s most esteemed professionals to apply for jobs from their respective fields. Jobs, for which them they were indisputably qualified. These four “Fake Romani” replied to job advertisements with their own CV’s but with typical Romani names.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

With a media budget of 20.000€, we had to rely on earned and social media. We selected four influencers with four distinctly different target audiences (culture followers, business-people etc.), in different social media channels, to maximize organic reach. Press releases explained the experiment in detail and linked to a documentary film. Hand-picked journalists, talk show hosts etc. got the possibility for an exclusive interview of each of the influencers. And to ensure the long tail, the influencers switched their social media names to their Fake Romani names. Thus, their every post, tweet, share and like reminded of the campaign.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

We invited a business guru, a television personality, a top chef and a leading columnist to apply for work by using a Fake Romani name. None of them were invited to a single job interview. The whole process was turned into a mini documentary, which was used to spearhead the campaign. The campaign was launched through our influencers’ own social media channels. While sharing their respective videos of the experiment, they also changed their names on their social media accounts into the Fake Romani names. Carefully curated press releases were sent to the media along with a media package featuring background information, more videos, photos etc. We also supported the Facebook and YouTube content with a media budget of 20 000 euros.

List the results (30% of vote)

The Fake Romani Experiment shocked the nation. Some people reacted with denial, but as they met the research results at the campaign site, they couldn’t escape the truth. All of Finland’s biggest newspapers, TV news channels and numerous talk shows reported several times about the campaign in 104 articles. Overall the campaign reach inside Finland (a country with a population 5 500 000) was over 192 000 000 (35*population), adding up to 1 765 000 € worth earned media. The discussion led to concrete changes in the Finnish job market: Finland’s biggest employers (including the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Vaasa, and the two biggest retailers) announced that they would switch to anonymous recruiting. Most importantly the campaign will have a lasting impact as even the government included anonymous recruitment in its reform programme, making the job market more accessible to all minorities, not just the Romani.