PREEMPTIVE STRIKE

Short List
TitlePREEMPTIVE STRIKE
BrandTHE COUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD
Category B02. Non-profit / Foundation-led Education & Awareness
Product/ServiceHELP LINE
Entrant PRIME WEBER SHANDWICK Stockholm, SWEDEN
Idea Creation PRIME WEBER SHANDWICK Stockholm, SWEDEN
Media Placement PRIME WEBER SHANDWICK Stockholm, SWEDEN
PR PRIME WEBER SHANDWICK Stockholm, SWEDEN
Production PRIME WEBER SHANDWICK Stockholm, SWEDEN
Post Production PRIME WEBER SHANDWICK Stockholm, SWEDEN
Credits
Name Company Position
Hanna Belander Prime Weber Shandwick Creative Director
Lisa Bengtsson Novellix Art Director, Publisher
Angelica Borch Prime Weber Shandwick Key Account Manager
Ulf Calvert Manscentrum Operationally Responsible
Cecilia Eklund Prime Weber Shandwick Media specialist
Christina Ericson The County Administrative Board Ericson
Viktor Halldén Prime Weber Shandwick Designer
Lena Hamamrgren Novellix Publishing manager
Johan Hildén Manscentrum Processor
Yrsa Lindberg Prime Weber Shandwick Copywriter
Peter Moro Prime Weber Shandwick Strategy
Janna Öhd The County Administrative Board Development Manager
Jens Orback Manscentrum President
Erika Palmquist Novellix Publisher
Robin Wiman Prime Weber Shandwick Art Director

Why is this work relevant for PR?

"Preemptive Strike" addressed an issue others had pursued many times before, but with little progress. However, by turning the perspective around, we sparked a national debate, and managed to reach an audience who, per definition, had not been listening. How? By engaging an iconic author to write a story they could relate to. And we succeeded. We connected abusers with therapists, and surpassed our objective many times over. Preemptive Strike did not only get a lot of attention, it earned the respect from key stakeholders, and in the end the results necessary to begin to solve the problem.

Background

About 20% of Swedes will be victims of domestic abuse. The effect is immense suffering for the victims, and societal costs are high. Voices from all over the country were calling for the perpetrators of this violence to take responsibility for their actions. However, it's difficult to recognise your own violent patterns, and changing your ways is even harder. Therefore, the Swedish government initiated a project – a telephone line for perpetrators of domestic violence. Here, help seekers could receive emergency support, but also long-term psychological treatment to help them change their ways. The goal was to get as many calls as possibly the phone line, and to at least surpass our British predecessor by 25%.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Jonas Hassen Khemiri is Sweden’s most acclaimed and awarded contemporary authors, whose books continuously top the best-selling lists. In his latest best seller, The Family Clause, he introduces a male character who physically abuses one of the novel’s main characters. We recognized the characters controlling behavior as symptomatic to the target group we wanted to reach and saw an opportunity to challenge the traditional conception of who a perpetrator might be. We asked Hassen Khemiri to write an additional chapter, where the reader gets to experience a charged situation from the perpetrator’s point of view – nuancing violence in order to create recognition through an unexpected channel and ultimately, encouraging more people to call the helpline. The chapter turned into a small book that was published and handed it out for free at all major Swedish bookstores in conjunction with the release of the paperback edition of The family clause.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

Doing research we found, to our surprise, that domestic violence is hard to recognize for those involved. It’s easy to think you have a relationship-problem and not a violence-problem. Further, the stigma around abuse is so strong; perpetrators are psychologically wired for denial. But we needed to put responsibility on the abusers, and urge them to get the help they need to change their ways. We had to show them what the violence look like in real life, and create recognition in these scenarios. This meant that we had to choose our language very carefully, centering the communication around words and phrases commonly used by the target group to describe their issue – even if it’s not the traditional way to describe actions of domestic violence. When we had their attention, we informed them that this is a violent behavior, and that there is help for them to change.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

In 2018, the Swedish government initiated a project to develop a telephone helpline for perpetrators of domestic violence where the caller can both receive emergency support from trained staff and long-term treatment to change their destructive behavior. In February 2019, the Preemptive strike telephone line opened for the first time. The launch included adding a new chapter to the latest bestseller by Sweden's most acclaimed author, Jonas Hassen Khemiri when it was released as a paperback. The novel was launched in Sweden's biggest morning paper and a number of other major outlets - newspapers, television and radio, interviewed the author about the project. The short story version was published as a mini-book and distributed by Sweden's largest retailer. On the day of the launch the story was also released as an audiobook on Spotify and outdoor ads with the text were put up in the subway.

List the results (30% of vote)

- The incoming calls exceeded our targets by 543% - and our comparative phone line by 679%. - Data from the incoming calls constitute the country's largest fact base for domestic violence and will be grounds for much needed research on the issue. - Hassen Khemiri's short story was distributed on all stores of Sweden’s largest retailer of books and had, in addition to that, a reach of 9,800,000 through media. And an organic reach in social media over 2,000,000. - As the story and interviews with the author appeared in Sweden's largest newspapers, radio and TV a public discussion arouse on the issue, a more nuanced discussion on the subject than what we are used to. - The short story is highly requested as teaching material in high schools around the country, to help start a conversation on domestic violence - and how to prevent it.