2020 Brand Experience & Activation


Short List
Category B01. Use of Ambient Media: Small Scale
Name Company Position
Jussi Mälkiä Fortum Brand Manager
Aki Koskinen Fortum Vice President, Brand
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\Helsinki Chief Creative Officer
Anna Masalin TBWA\Helsinki Executive Account Director
Ville Ohtonen TBWA\Helsinki Creative Director
Satu Heikkonen TBWA\Helsinki Account Manager
Juhana Hokkanen TBWA\Helsinki Innovation Director
Umberto Onza TBWA\Helsinki Lead Innovation Designer
Teemu Lappalainen TBWA\Helsinki Art Director
Melissa Kuitunen TBWA\Helsinki Content Producer
Saana Sundberg TBWA\Helsinki Junior Communication Specialist
Lara Ala-Olla TBWA\Helsinki Designer
Fanny Haga TBWA\Helsinki Photographer
Eemeli Tani TBWA\Helsinki Manager, Performance & Analytics
Ellen Lindbom TBWA\Helsinki Data & Insight Trainee
Tuukka Tikkanen TBWA\Helsinki Film Producer
Mikko Kuoppasalmi TBWA\Helsinki Editor
Mikko Pietilä TBWA\Helsinki Executive Creative Director
Erno Reinikainen TBWA\Helsinki Creative Director
Mikko Kaivo-oja TBWA\Helsinki Associate Creative Director

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

Fortum Circo@ Handle proved the usability of recycled plastic in an experiential way, which also helped people avoid Covid-19 infections. The Handles were in use in Finland’s biggest grocery store chain, allowing thousands of Finns to witness the durability of Fortum Circo® plastics.


Clean-energy company Fortum is also the leading producer of recycled plastic in the Nordics. They collect waste plastic from both consumer packaging waste and industrial waste, grind it and manufacture Fortum Circo® plastic pellets, a versatile recycled raw material for nearly any plastic products. In its home market Finland, Fortum is only known as an energy company. The brief was to raise awareness about Fortum Circo® plastics and to enforce the perception of Fortum as a circular economy company. Originally, the brief was met with two ideas which both involved a presence in large global events in 2020. As Covid-19 hit the world in spring 2020, it was soon evident that the whole campaign had to be rethought in the radically new circumstances. The original campaign ideas involving entertainment felt not only impossible to execute, but also too light in approach.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Fortum quickly realized one issue it could help Finnish people with: hand hygiene on surfaces in public places. Despite all the quarantine measures, people couldn’t avoid visiting grocery stores. Especially door and cabinet handles in stores get touched by thousands of clients every day, making them hotspots for infections. Electric doors with motion detectors would have solved the problem, but switching every single door and cabinet in every store would have taken months (if not years) and cost billions. That’s why Fortum created the Fortum Circo® Handle: a simple add-on suiting all types of existing door handles, allowing people to open doors with their arm, minimizing touching the handles with their palms and fingers. It not only prevents infections, but also helps disabled, who have trouble grabbing handles or lack finger strength, open doors more easily. The Handle is manufactured from Fortum’s 100% recycled Circo® plastic, using no virgin materials.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Fortum Circo® Handle had two target groups with two distinct objectives: General public: The wide audience in Northern Europe, where Fortum functions as an energy company, had to be educated, that Fortum is not only an energy company, but that circular economy is just as large part of its operations. Furthermore, it was crucial to raise awareness about Fortum’s sustainability. Replacing regular plastic made from fossil oil with Circo® plastic has an immense positive impact on the environment. Manufacturing companies: Global awareness of Fortum Circo® as a versatile, affordable and reliable raw material had to be increased among companies, which manufacture plastic products. The prior Circo® clients had been lesser known brands making bulk products (such as toilet brushes), and Fortum needed more valuable brands as clients, especially design companies – basically products, where the price of the raw material plays a smaller role.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

Because of the medical urgency of the pandemia, the Fortum Circo® Handle prototypes were ideated, designed, 3D printed and installed in the first stores in only 21 days. The first very rough prototypes were designed during the first week and 3d-printed, so that they could be quickly tested in-store (for usability, durability and attaching to different kinds of levers and handles). Finland's biggest retail chain S-Group became interested, and two weeks later, the piloting started in S-Group’s Alepas (grocery stores) in the Helsinki area. During the piloting, the use of the Handles in the stores was constantly monitored and recorded. In addition, the product designers interviewed both clients and the Alepa staff to learn more about the usability of the prototypes.

List the results (30% of vote)

In a matter of days, news of the Fortum Circo® Handle prototyping reached media globally. Over 170 news media in 93 countries wrote about it, including the likes of Fox News and New York Post, the reach being 327 997 597 and earned media value 3 029 715 €. In a matter of weeks, over 120 retail and manufacturing companies from around the world contacted Fortum about ordering Fortum Circo® Handles or about collaborating in mass producing them from Fortum Circo®. And finally, after only 1,5 months of the launch, the Finnish design icon Fiskars Group agreed to start mass manufacturing and selling the Handles globally. The deal with Fiskars not only makes infection preventing handles available at scale everywhere, but it’s also a powerful reference for Fortum Circo®: if an appreciated design company approves Circo® as their raw material, it encourages future clients to give Circo® a chance, too.