NO DOUCHE BAG

TitleNO DOUCHE BAG
BrandVÄSTTRAFIK
Category B06. Use of Events / Stunts
Product/ServicePUBLIC TRANSPORT COMPANY
Entrant FORSMAN & BODENFORS Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Idea Creation FORSMAN & BODENFORS Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Credits
Name Company Position
Greger Andersson Forsman & Bodenfors Account Supervisor
Helen Johansson Forsman & Bodenfors Account executive
Lars Jansson Forsman & Bodenfors Art Director
Pontus Caresten Forsman & Bodenfors Copywriter
Christoffer Persson Forsman & Bodenfors Designer
Robert Johnsson Forsman & Bodenfors PR Strategist
Petter Berg Cutback Studios Production, film and photography
Assar Wallenius Cutback Studios Film editing

Why is this work relevant for Media?

We handed out 1,000 free No Douche Bags to public transport travelers at Gothenburg Central Station. We used printed tote bags as the channel, to drive behavioral change and attract broad media coverage.

Background

Västtrafik is responsible for public transport in western Sweden. But how do you act as a public transport provider during COVID-19? Authorities recommend people not to travel at all, but some people still need to use the service. Especially people in professions crucial for society – like nurses, doctors, teachers, etcetera. Västtrafik therefore asked us to help reminding their passengers of the importance of social distancing. They already encourage people to walk or bike whenever possible, and in their vehicles signs and messages remind travelers to keep distance. But as time goes by, people tend to forget. So Västtrafik needed something unexpected, simple and easy to use, in order to emphasize that they did everything they could to make traveling as safe as possible.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

The key insight was that a phenomenon that used to be inconsiderate, is suddenly responsible. Normally, occupying the seat next to you on the bus is douchebag behavior. But during a pandemic, it’s an act of care. So we created the No Douche Bag – a tool that help travelers avoid crowding in a novel way. We gave Västtrafik’s passengers a clear – but polite – way of telling fellow commuters to practice social distancing (particularly suitable as Swedes are somewhat reserved). And created a conversation starter that spread the important message across the region.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

We wanted to raise awareness about the importance of keeping distance in public transport. The strategy was to create bags to act as physical symbols on vehicles, and as a tool to change public opinion about putting a bag on the seat next to you. A conversation starter that made the normally unwanted behavior temporarily accepted – even sanctioned by Västtrafik. Closing off seats is not ideal, partly because it dramatically reduces capacity in a way that can cause crowding, partly because people within the same household can safely travel next to each other. We needed to find something that was easy to use, and went in line with the Swedish COVID-19 strategy giving individuals responsibility to act under a certain degree of freedom. Something simple and direct, but still interesting enough to catch the attention of the audience. Therefore we looked for an activation based on existing human behavior.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

Inspired by barrier tape, we designed the bags to be visually clear and to signal warning. But to contrast that, the language was friendly and polite. The "barrier tape" pattern at the bottom of the bags is also a key element in Västtrafik’s visual identity, already used in all external communication (we just made it bigger). To launch the new collection, we took a series of product images in a bus and in a studio environment. We also did a short film showcasing the bags. On the day of the launch, we published a series of social media posts, we sent out a press kit including all the image material, and the bags were handed out for free at Gothenburg Central Station.

List the results (30% of vote)

The response was immediate and massive. Within one hour, the first edition of 1,000 bags ran out (the second edition is on the way). Pictures of the bags spread across social media, leading to a 1011% increase in mentions. The total earned media reach was over 41 million, with more than 100 articles published globally. Almost all major regional and national media wrote about the initiative, including Sweden’s largest online newspaper, the biggest morning paper and the radio channel with the most listeners. On the day of the launch, several public transport operators – national and foreign – reached out to Västtrafik wanting their own versions of the bag. Hundreds of people contacted customer service trying to buy the bag. And Västtrafik's marketing directors e-mail crashed from too many mails.