Short List
Category C06. Breakthrough on a Budget
Entrant SEK | PART OF GREY Helsinki, FINLAND
Idea Creation SEK | PART OF GREY Helsinki, FINLAND
Media Placement DAGMAR Helsinki, FINLAND
Production SEK | PART OF GREY Helsinki, FINLAND
Production 2 COCOA Helsinki, FINLAND
Production 3 CREUNA FINLAND Helsinki, FINLAND
Additional Company HINTSA PERFORMANCE Helsinki, FINLAND
Additional Company 2 HINTSA PERFORMANCE Helsinki, FINLAND
Name Company Position
Mira Vierto SEK | PART OF GREY Business Director
Suvi Lähde SEK | PART OF GREY Executive Creative Director
Jarno Luotonen SEK | PART OF GREY Executive Creative Director
Tomi Härmä SEK | PART OF GREY Head of Strategy
Per Pedersen GREY Grey Global Creative Chairman
Eduardo Maruri GREY President/CEO & Creative Chairman
Kimi Issakainen SEK | PART OF GREY Creative Director
Antti Tuominen SEK | PART OF GREY Copywriter
Essi Orama SEK | PART OF GREY PR Manager
Erika Vierto SEK | PART OF GREY Project Director
Unni Leino SEK | PART OF GREY Graphic Designer
Vesa Tiukkanen SEK | PART OF GREY Editor
Ville Koivisto SEK | PART OF GREY Project Manager
Heli Jimenez Visit Finland / Business Finland Senior Director, International Marketing
Katarina Wakonen Visit Finland / Business Finland Manager Research
Hetta Huittinen Visit Finland / Business Finland Head of International Media and PR
Mervi Holmén Visit Finland / Business Finland Marketing Communications Manager
Joonas Halla Visit Finland / Business Finland PR and Media Manager
Sari Hey Visit Finland / Business Finland PR and Media Manager
Eevakaisa Mölsä Visit Finland / Business Finland PR and Media Manager
Heli Hemgård Visit Finland / Business Finland Communications Manager
Liisa Marjoniemi Dagmar Client Manager
Annika Muhonen Dagmar Senior Digital Planner
Noora Pyörre Dagmar Digital Planner
Markus Vuorinen Dagmar Digital Planner


Finland is a small, sparsely-populated Nordic nation with big ambitions to become a real contender as a must-see destination in the world of international tourism. To do this meant challenging the dominance of Scandi tourism giants Norway and Sweden, under whose long shadow Finland’s international tourism brand ranking had remained static for many years. But with a communications budget of just €200K government tourism body Visit Finland needed to find a smarter way to create the biggest possible splash. COMMERCIAL OBJECTIVE: - Increase Finland’s tourism revenue. MARKETING OBJECTIVE: - Grow the number of overnight stays in Finland. COMMUNICATIONS OBJECTIVES: - Increase awareness of, and interest in, Finnish holidays. - Improve attitudes towards Finland as a tourism brand. - Create engagement with Visit Finland marketing.

Summary of the work

BACKGROUND & CONTEXT Tourism is an important industry in the Nordics. It makes a large and growing contribution to the economy. In 2017, for example, foreign visitor income accounted for 4.3% of Norway’s GDP, an increase of 2.4% on 2016 (1). But for too long Finland has lagged behind, overlooked by overseas travellers. Despite the beauty of its land and lakes and the friendliness of its people, it has been overshadowed and outspent by its neighbours, with Sweden spending twice as much on marketing and Norway four times (2). But Finnish government tourism organiation Visit Finland was on a mission to make a difference. CREATIVE CHALLENGE Many tourists think they know what they want from the Nordics. Fjords. Mountains. Midnight sun. Picturesque fishermen’s cottages. Northern Lights. Hygge. In fact, all the things Norway and Sweden have been advertising for years. For Visit Finland, the creative challenge was how to appeal to the kinds of tourists who were attracted to all of these things, and yet to say something surprising and different enough about Finland to really stand out - despite being heavily outspent. SOLUTION Nordic people are known for being relaxed and happy. But what most people don’t know is that of them all, it’s actually the Finns who are officially the happiest. In fact, in the United Nations World Happiness Report, Finland consistently ranks year after year as the happiest nation in the entire world (3). At a time when life is getting busier and noisier and more and more people are desperately searching for some kind of a sense of calm, that’s something special. So our solution was to offer the chance to Rent a Finn, to learn the secrets of Finnish Happiness. EXECUTION We launched a nationwide initiative to recruit the kind of Finns that people in the wider world would be pleased to learn happiness from. Then we put them up for hire as what we called Happiness Guides, on our campaign site under To build awareness and desire, we conducted a worldwide PR campaign that reached 149 countries sharing our Finns’ stories and pictures with the world’s media with the aid of internationally known Finnish spokespeople. The campaign reach was boosted with bought advertising in social media covering 10 key countries that had been identified as the main sources for tourism to Finland. As the campaign developed, we used the stories – and the world’s reactions to them – to create further content, monitoring earned media developments and reacting along the way. It was a campaign that exceeded all expectations. It attracted worldwide public attention. It put Finland firmly in the media’s ‘top places to visit’ lists (4). And it increased tourism, with the rate of growth in overnight stay bookings growing sixfold, from 0.83% before the campaign to 5.32% after. Sources: (1) Statistics Norway (2) World Travel & Tourism Council (3) United Nations World Happiness Report (4) E.g. Business Insider’s Number One Country to Travel To in 2019

Engagement & Awareness

THE RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN ENGAGED AND EXCITED THE FINNISH NATION The campaign received significant media coverage within Finland with a campaign potential reach of 34.4 million, i.e. six times the amount of Finns (1). As a result, hundreds of Finns contacted Visit Finland offering to be rented out to tourists as Happiness Guides, sharing the secrets of the Finnish way of life. This content was widely shared by Finns and Finnish media. THE CHANCE TO RENT A FINN DROVE TRAFFIC TO VISITFINLAND.COM When we had assembled our band of Finnish Happiness Guides ready to rent out to the world, we fed their stories to the global media, supported by PR activity and by the involvement of some internationally-known Finnish spokespeople. Visibility was further boosted by online and social media advertising targeted at busy workers on their lunch-breaks. The resulting peak in worldwide coverage sparked both interest and engagement, with an immediate 114% year-on-year increase in monthly traffic to (2). THE CAMPAIGN GAINED PR VALUE OF €22.4M The campaign engaged public and media opinion all over the world. Our message raising awareness of Finland reached potential tourists in 149 countries, with a campaign potential reach of 2.46 billion and a combined PR value of €22.4 million (3) THOUSANDS OF FOREIGNERS APPLIED TO RENT A FINN In the space of just 4 weeks, we got over 6000 video applications from 124 different countries from people looking to hire a Finnish Happiness Guide (4). AS THE CAMPAIGN DEVELOPED, AWARENESS AND ENGAGEMENT CONTINUED TO RISE As tourists took up the chance to rent their own Finnish Happiness Guide we recorded what happened and used it to create further content. One of those visitors was Charlene from Singapore, who spent a week in Ansalahti with her guide. Her story was turned into a cinematic documentrary film, launched towards the end of the campaign, which drove a second peak of visitors to the website (5). Sources: (1) Meltwater Global Media Monitoring Report, Rent a Finn campaign report January –March 2019 (2) Google Analytics, Website visits, April 2019 compared to April 2020 (3) Meltwater Global Media Monitoring Report, Rent a Finn campaign report January – December 2019 (4) Google Analytics, Target: Rent a Finn number of Applications (5) Google Analytics, Website visits, November – December 2019

Social Behaviour & Insight

AUDIENCE BEHAVIOUR AND INSIGHT – MEET THE MODERN HUMANISTS We started by interrogating Visit Finland’s segmentation study of global tourists (1). Unsurprisingly, people travel for different reasons. Some seek sun, sea and sangria. Others want fashion and urban chic. But we identified a significant segment who travel to gain a sense of balance in their busy working lives, and who seek to ‘live like a local’ when they are abroad. They’re people who obtain personal satisfaction, and social status, from mixing with the locals, from trying little-known delicacies and specialities, and from gaining the inside knowledge that marks them out as a ‘real’ traveller. They are called Modern Humanists. We believed this group would appreciate the unique attractions only Finland has to offer – if only we could find the right way to present it to them. FINLAND SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND INSIGHT – IDENTIFYING AND ACTIVATING A UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE - IDENTIFYING. We were in an ideal position to uncover the truths behind Finland’s world-beating happiness ranking. We analysed Finns’ attitudes to life. What came back time and time again was the sense of perspective and ease that has its roots in a deep and culturally-engrained relationship with nature. For Finns, even urban ones, nature isn’t something separate from human society – it is all interwoven and interconnected in daily life. - ACTIVATING. Understanding what lies beneath Finnish happiness was one thing, but to turn it into a campaign capable of motivating behaviour change in the wider world we needed to turn it into action. We needed to turn our campaign into a social activator to get ordinary Finns all over the county to want to play their part. So the campaign in general – and the first phase in particular – was targeted not only at overseas tourists but at Finns themselves, to make them feel proud and to build a social movement to get them to offer their services. IMPACT OF THE CAMPAIGN ON BEHAVIOUR CHANGE - BEFORE. Before the campaign, tourists had been ‘discovering’ the Nordics, encouraged by big-spending advertising campaigns. The number of overnight stays booked in Norway, Sweden and Denmark was steadily increasing. But Finland was missing out, with an almost-flat growth rate of just +0.83%. - AFTER. Rent a Finn got people around the world to sit up and take notice. More than this, it sparked a change in behaviour, with the result that tourists spent nearly 1 million nights more in Finland during the campaign than in the same time previous year (2). By way of comparison, the number of foreign tourists visiting Finland in 2019 grew +11.4% compared with the country’s 2016-18 average. Using the same measure, Sweden achieved only 7.24% and high-spending Norway actually declined. The result was that Finland overtook its rivals in the World Tourism Organisation’s growth rankings to become the TOP Nordic tourist destination (3). Sources: (1) Visit Finland Segmentation Study, NEPA (2) Visit Finland/Statistics Finland (3) Number of foreign tourists, UNWTO World Tourism Organization

Brand Affinity & Sentiment

RENT A FINN MEASURABLY IMPROVED FINLAND’S BRAND IMAGE Each year, Anholt Ipsos publish the Nation Brands Index (NBI). It is a global survey of the brand images of nations around the world. The NBI examines the images of around 50 nations each year, by conducting online interviews with 20,000 adults aged 18 and over, in 20 core panel countries. For ten years Finland had languished at number 17, sometimes even slipping to number 18. But in 2020, following the Rent a Finn campaign, Finland’s ranking in The National Brand Image finally moved up to reach number 16, an all-time high (1). The NBI covers brand image on six dimensions, Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Immigration, Investment and Tourism. Finland’s image increased across all of these dimensions, with the highest increase of all on the tourism dimension. This ranking sets Finland’s brand image above well-known and much-loved holiday destinations like Singapore, United Arab Emirates, India and Argentina, all of which have far higher tourism budgets than Finland. AFFINITY TRANSLATED INTO ACTIVE INTERESTS AND DEMAND Finland’s strengthened brand image translated into increased international interest and demand. One sign of this was the fact that between 2018 and 2019, the year-on-year number of in online searches for Finland grew +23% from 4,1 to 5.1 million. This growth in appeal was significantly faster than for other Nordic countries. (2) AND FINLAND’S HAPPINESS CONTINUED… In 2020 Finland was again ranked by the UN as the happiest country in the world (3). Sources: (1) Nation Brand Index, Anholt-Ipsos. (2) Digital Demand, D2 Analytics (3) The World Happiness Report, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Sales Success

Rent a Finn increased Finland’s tourism’s revenue by €220 million (1), Figure 6.1. This money came from a 5% year-on-year increase in hotel overnight stays, 9.9% increase in cottage rental nights and the extra visitors’ additional spending in restaurants, shops end leisure venues. Rent a Finn achieved this revenue growth on a media budget of just €200K. The return on investment of Rent a Finn was truly exceptional. The campaign generated €1099 for every 1€ spent. The incremental revenue from the campaign was estimated to be €219.8M and the total campaign costs were €200K. This ROI beats the benchmark set by other award winning tourism campaigns, the table 6.1. shows the difference between campaigns. It is clear that this campaign exceeded all expectations, not only igniting growth in tourism but also in bringing to life the notion of the Happy Finn and inviting the world to Finland to experience them firsthand. We have no doubt that if Covid had not intervened and stopped the world dead in its tracks, we would have seen a continuation of the success of Rent a Finn into 2020. Figure 6.2. shows the projected 2 million increase in room nights in Finland for 2020, assuming the same rate of growth achieved in 2019 and further media investment. Sources: (1) Statistics Finland (2) Visit Finland/Statistics Finland (3) Visit Finland/Statistics Finland


RENT A FINN BECAME VISIT FINLAND’S MOST SUCCESFUL CAMPAIGN EVER We offered the people of the world the chance to Rent a Finn, to learn the secrets of Finnish happiness. It was a message that resonated globally, spreading across 149 countries with a potential reach of 2.46 billion. It also changed people’s travel plans. As a result, Finland’s tourism revenue grew an astonishing €220m year-on-year, despite a media budget of just €200k. Rent a Finn successfully changed Finland’s communication strategy from push to pull. With such a timely and appealing message of happiness and calm in a hectic world, the global media and travel industry willingly picked up and spread Finland’s story. Going forward, Visit Finland can now build on this foundation to communicate even more relevant and targeted USPs to potential travellers. At its heart, Rent a Finn was always intended to offer much more than just tourism. Through its Happiness Guides it created encounters that were both meaningful and enriching. As Charlene from Singapore put it, “This has been a life-changing experience.” This is something you don’t get from most holidays. Rent a Finn has now become the brand platform for all of Visit Finland’s future actions. Until 2020, when international travel plans were put on hold by Covid, Visit Finland was preparing to take the Happiness Guide principle to the next level with the launch of a “Happiness School” where greater numbers of travellers could learn from local Finns. Undaunted by the pandemic, we launched Virtual Rent a Finn, an online version. Our campaign reached over 300 million all over the world and, again, received wide-scale media coverage. Even with much of the world still in lockdown, the momentum created by our campaign continues. At the time of writing, Visit Finland’s marketing calendar includes a whole range of Happiness activities, including a major BBC interview on the subject and virtual sales events with the Happiness Guides in a Forest Pavilion for the Tokyo Olympics. Finland has long been a happy country, but few people outside the country knew. Now, as a result of Rent a Finn, the world finally understands – and this has opened doors to new visitors, new investment, and a healthy and sustainable future for Finnish tourism.

Discounting Factors

OTHER ACTIVITIES Visit Finland or other governmental organisations responsible for Finland’s brand did not have any other campaigns or promotions at the same time with Rent a Finn. There were no other campaigns generating traffic to the Visit Finland website linked with our campaign page (1). PRICE & INCENTIVES Visit Finland did not offer any incentives to travellers for taking part in the campaign (1). There was no significant price reductions of travel products for the campaign or within the period post the campaign when travel carried on increasing (2). Finland didn’t become more affordable over the campaign, consumer prices growth was +1,02% and restaurants and hotels even +2,05% when comparing 2018 and 2019 (2). MEDIA SPEND Visit Finland operated on a substantially smaller budget than other travel organisations in Nordics, the Swedish government invested into travel marketing twice and Norway four times the money that Finland could afford (3) Source: (1) Business Finland (2) Consumer Price Index, Statistics Finland (3) World Travel & Tourism Council: Government Spending On Travel And Tourism Service