THE POLITE TYPE

Short List
TitleTHE POLITE TYPE
BrandTIETOEVRY
Category D05. Use of Technology
Product/ServiceIT SERVICES
Entrant TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Idea Creation TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
PR TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Production TBWA\HELSINKI, FINLAND
Production 2 GREAT APES Helsinki, FINLAND
Production 3 TMI MELVAS TYPE DESIGN Vantaa, FINLAND
Additional Company THE CHILDREN AND YOUTH FOUNDATION Helsinki, FINLAND
Credits
Name Company Position
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\Helsinki Chief Creative Officer
Mikko Pietilä TBWA\Helsinki Executive Creative Director
Virpi Grönlund TBWA\Helsinki Client Service Director
Markus Nieminen TBWA\Helsinki Creative Director
Juhana Hokkanen TBWA\Helsinki Innovation Director
Joona Stedt TBWA\Helsinki Account Manager
Simone Bocedi TBWA\Helsinki Senior Content Strategist
Fredrik Stürmer TBWA\Helsinki Art Director
Maria Kuorikoski TBWA\Helsinki Senior Creative
Antti Halme TBWA\Helsinki Senior Creative
Iida Sarpaniemi TBWA\Helsinki Graphic Designer
Atso Wilén TBWA\Helsinki Graphic Designer
Henrik Storsjö TBWA\Helsinki Video Editor
Paula Sonne TBWA\Helsinki Communications Strategist
Saana Simander TBWA\Helsinki Junior Communications Specialist
Sara Pitzén TBWA\Helsinki Junior Communications Specialist
Katariina Ollari TBWA\Helsinki Content Producer
Eemeli Tani TBWA\Helsinki Performance & Analytics Manager
Juho Ojala TBWA\Helsinki Planner
Lisa Myllymäki TBWA\Helsinki Director
Tuukka Tikkanen TBWA\Helsinki Producer
Anton Tevajärvi TBWA\Helsinki Director Of Photography
Aki Karppinen TBWA\Helsinki Gaffer
Mikko Kuoppasalmi TBWA\Helsinki Editor
Anssi Mahlamäki TBWA\Helsinki Motion Designer
Ville-Matti Koskiniemi TBWA\Helsinki Sound Design
Petri Falkenberg Grade One Post Production
Aino Heiniö TBWA\Helsinki Costume Design
Donna Maimon TBWA\Helsinki Casting
Fanny Haga TBWA\Helsinki Photographer
Jonna Yletyinen TBWA\Helsinki Still Producer
Mika Melvas TMI Melvas Type Design Typeface Designer
Jonna Louvrier External Consultant Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Michaela Moua External Consultant Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Sara Salmani External Consultant, Inklusiiv Diversity and Inclusion Advisor
Anaka Kobzev TBWA Worldwide Global Head of Corporate Communications
Melissa Gotleib TBWA Worldwide Global Communications Associate
Doug Melville TBWA Worldwide Chief Diversity Officer, North America
Kia Haring TietoEVRY Head of Communications and Sustainablity
Hanne Haapoja TietoEVRY Head of Group Customer Insight
Mari Tuokko TietoEVRY Communications Lead, Finland
Reija Sihlman TietoEVRY Head of PR and Issues Management
Nelli Melin TietoEVRY Digital Content Manager
Annika Uusikari TietoEVRY Content Creator

Why is this work relevant for PR?

The Polite Type is a tech for good initiative by a leading Nordic IT company, who wanted to engage the public in key markets through a project that reflects the company’s core values. To engage relevant media and online audiences, TietoEVRY released a prototype of a self-moderating, anti-bullying font that would introduce new angles to an existing discussion around cyberbullying. The Polite Type was a PR-led initiative, with a small-scale paid social campaign only in Finland. Its reach globally was over 900 million. Over 90% of all website traffic and font downloads resulted from earned media referrals.

Background

As an IT company driven by Nordic values, TietoEVRY wanted to enter the public discussion on the downsides and possibilities of technology by proposing a solution for addressing cyberbullying. Drawing from the company’s purpose of enabling a brighter future and an existing partnership with The Children and Youth Foundation, we created The Polite Type: an open-source font that promotes better online language use and empathy. By releasing a prototype of a self-moderating font, TietoEVRY wanted to raise discussion about toxic online culture and cyberbullying, the social responsibility of tech companies in solving these issues and innovative ways companies could use tech to foster empathy online. The main KPIs outlined by the client were media coverage, reach and awareness, audience growth, engagement, conversion rate and referral traffic.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Together with teenagers, linguists and experts in diversity and inclusion, we gathered a vocabulary of negative language and slurs encountered by victims of cyberbullying. Together, we came up with replacement words for some negative expressions and identified language that should be blurred altogether. This word library was then incorporated into a custom font. The Polite Type tapped into a number of culturally relevant topics: online culture, the social responsibility of tech companies, discrimination and the inclusivity of language and the effect of social media on the well-being of teenagers. As a concrete tool, anyone was able to test it and comment on its relevance to themselves personally, get instant feedback on the language they use. Users were invited to give feedback on user experience and vocabulary.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

We knew that a self-moderating font would attract a varied response from the media and the public. Since anyone could test the font, install it on their devices and access the source code, we knew it would quickly become a conversation piece. Our key message focused on the way language shapes our realities and the power it has in society. Could technical solutions change our online behaviour and the language we use – and as a result make the web a better, kinder and more inclusive place? The campaign’s aim was to increase awareness and engage important stakeholder groups, so in PR we targeted news and tech media, handpicking journalists we knew would have something to say on the subject. It was important to get everyone to test the font, to give them an understanding of the project.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

A few days before the launch, we reached out to select journalists under an embargo, and gave them the opportunity to test the font. We identified a number of journalists with potential interest on the issue, focusing on themes related to the campaign: bullying in schools, cyberbullying, diversity and inclusion, campaigns for good, typefaces, tech solutions for good, graphic design and innovations. The media kit contained a press release and a short, explanatory film on the project. 7 separate PR pushes were made to press lists containing around 35,000 journalists from around the world. 270 were contacted personally with a tailored pitch. Media contacts were carried out during the week of 17 August, 2020, with two days reserved for embargo pitches and two for the media launch. As of October, we are still getting media hits and interview requests, although no pitching has been done since August.

List the results (30% of vote)

The campaign’s launch generated 637 earned media impressions, 221 of which were news articles. The campaign’s overall reach was 900,598,598, corresponding to an EAV of 8,497,769.31€, indicative of high quality media hits. Since August 2020, the font has been tested on the website 27,467 times and installed by 3,367 users in over 100 countries. Most of the coverage was positive or neutral in tone, focusing on issues central to the campaign: cyberbullying awareness, technological solutions for social problems and the ethics of online behaviour. Many articles focused on the font’s functionality and the technology behind it. Negative coverage was marginal and focused in niche political media, who opposed the ideas of political correctness and inclusivity. 90,5% of all website traffic and 94,2 % font downloads resulted from earned media content. 51% of site visitors tested the font. 6% of all site visitors and 12% of those who tested the font installed it on their own devices. Less than two months after launch, there has been interest from new governmental and NGO partners in creating language versions of the font, with a German language version confirmed.