This Transforms Swedish Creatives to Mad Men

The commercials for Siba, one of the big chains of home electronics retail stores in Sweden, is the subject of extensive hatred among Swedish creatives.

If you are in the business you must highlight your indignation in public. Even local brand gurus rage over Siba and discuss what’s important in advertising. The conclusion: Siba is bad.

The commercials are in the old fashion car salesman genre. They are noisy, silly and has many discount offers.

Interestingly, Siba is the primarily target of the criticism from the creative community. The agency, Valentin&Byhr, has survived unscathed.

The campaign is called I Fabians värld (The World of Fabian) and the guy in the commercials is Fabian Bengtsson, CEO of Siba and grand son of the store chain founder.

Agency: Valentin&Byhr


Williamsburg Dreaming

Nine out of ten young creatives in Stockholm are dreaming of living in Williamsburg New York.

They dress like they do in Williamsburg, listen to music from Williamsburg and drink like they drink in Williamsburg.

Sweden is, outside New York, consequently the prime market for Brooklyn Breweries. It’s obvious why but the management of the small brewerie has no explanation (in Swedish) but they are learning Swedish to better understand the Swedish (hipster) culture. .

Now the luxery beer Local1 is reintroduced in Sweden. And Brooklyn Breweries first Swedish ad campaigne is full page prints in the major dailys of Stockholm. It is, even in this hipster haunt, extraordernarely that an American craft brewerie has full page ads to market a limited edition beer.

The ad is an adaptation of a two year old ad in New York Times. That’s, of cause, essential for a Williamsburg dreamer

Probably you can see the ad in the iPad editions because the hard core customers never read newspapers.

Agency: WDW Creative

(The box in the botten of the ad says that “…is more likely to suffer from an accident involving alcohol in the body…”, a kind of enlightenment you must have in a Swedish ad for alcohol)

The Stylish Pancreas

We have learned from Crossing Jordan, C.S.I and Dexter  that body parts can be thrilling.

Now design agency Stockholm Design Lab shows us that lungs and pancreas can be very stylish.

The good looking intersection of our inner parts is the new design identity for the pharmacy chain Vårdapoteket. The pharmacy of the sick and fashion minded (ok, that’s my analysis).

The design will be a success because it has been inspired by Josef Frank, the favortite designer of the well educated and wealthy middle class in Sweden.

Vårdapoteket is not the first time SDL has been inspired by Frank. A year ago SDL’s cd Björn Kusoffsky and designer Monica Förster did a praised interpretation of Josef Frank’s design at Svenk Tenn, the design shop i Stockholm he worked for in the 1930s- and 40s.

Agency: Stockholm Design Lab

A Banker or a Stripper?

What do you want? A banker or a stripper? The second? Try Ikano Bank (owned by Ikea). But don’t expect too much.

Last week I wrote  about, post-Lehman Brothers, that financial institutions want to be seen as nice and simpel as possible. No more derivative, just old fashion bank service.

And that’s the message in Garbergs commercial for Ikano Bank. To convince us the banker undress both his fancy suit and wig and finally tear down the walls of the bank. And he says ” You should always know what you get.”

Conlusion: if you choose Ikano Bank you get a very old half naked clerk running around in the snow.

Agency: Garbergs

Refreshingly Fresh

There is fresh juice and there is fresh juice. Brämhults claim their juice is freshest of them all. The juice shelf life span is 18 days. No more.

How to express this freshness at a campaign page?

Volontaire, the agency of Brämhult, follows the motto ”It’s what you do, not what you say” and has put a ”Best by date” at Brämhults page. 18 days and then the agency squeeze new content, contests, projects and cooperations that ”… are up to date with the continuous flow of information and news.”

We have seen a new web page at the shelf every 18th day since 2009.

The quality of the page is not consisten but the idea  seems to be strong.

A brand survey, from 2010, placed Brämhults at the top, among 15-25 years old in Sweden, of the brand ranking. Last year Volontaire received a third prize at Guldägget (The ad award in Sweden) for

Nevertheless Volontaire keeps on refreshing. Impressive.

One question: wouldn’t it be easier to let the juice speak for itself?

Agency: Volontaire

Sweed Speed

Sweeds don’t like it too fast too soon. It’s OK to have fun but not hazardous fun.

We want our lives, society – and advertising organized and regulated (hey, we like it that way). Even motorbike advertising.

Right now The Swedish Association for Moped and Motorcycles Retail Trades, McRF, is discussing ethical guidelines for bike marketing.

What we can expect is no more pictures of escalating bikes, no more drivers without helmet or other protective equipment, no more racing bikes with slick tires and absolutely no hints about driving faster then the speed limit.

In summary: no advertising which calls to have hazardous fun on the road. Per Johansson, CEO at McRF, says  “speed neutral.”

OK, but what’s left to advertise?

The Harley ad, with super model Marisa Miller, above is for the retailer Northbik and The Swedish Advertising Ombudsman has banned it.

No Royal Deal

Daniel Westling is the country boy who moved to Stockholm, founded Balance, a gym for the rich and famouse, and there, maybe under some gym gear, he met Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden.

Today he is married and called Prince Daniel. What a story.

Because he is a royal he is not allowed to work at Balance but he is still an equity partner.

But the gym needs new customers and its agency Berntzonbylund has made an outdoor campaign asking ”Ingen big deal?” (No big deel?) showing a fat belly.

McDonld’s, the place where you get a fat belly, thinks it’s a big deal. The Swedish business already use the tagline ”Ingen big deal.”

Magnus Brännström, marketing director at Balance, says to trade paper Resumé that if you exercise at Balance you can eat at McDonald’s. Well, that doesen’t matter. Balance has to quit the campaign.

Ad Agency: Berntzonbylund   

The Talented Mr Martner

Gustav Martner is ECD at CP+B Europe and chairman of the Swedish Association of Communication Agencies. A hot-shot in the Swedish ad industry.

But Sweden is a nation of old industries – building cars, producing paper, bearings, communication systems – and the understanding of creative companies is sometimes limited.

In the new issue of Veckans Affärer, a Swedish business magazine, Gustav Martner is on the chart of Sweden’s top ”super talents.”

It’s like Forbes calling David Droga a coming man.

Maybe we can see a change of attitude. The government has lately noted that the Swedish export of books, music, internet service and advertising is worth billions.

Hence promoting of creative industries is on minister of trade Ewa Björlings agenda. Hopefully she is talented enough.

Wanted: Exploding Evil Woman

Sweden’s own action hero Navy Commander Carl Hamilton saved Sweden, and the world, in several books and movies back in the 80s and 90s.

Now there is a new generation of Hamilton movies and this time Swedish macho actor Mikael Persbrandt is playing the tough guy.

But one hero is not enough. Hamilton needs extras in the background. Like an ”evil woman who explods”. You can find the listing at the campaign page for Adecco, a global consulting company specialized in HR.

Adecco is one sponsor of the movie and you can see the brand between the fights on the silver screen if you are lucky (?). But Adecco, and company agency SWE, wanted to be part of the movie business. So the production team gave Adecco the assignment to cast ”cocky chick with a gun” and ”sunbating guy wearing military shorts.” The respond was overwhelming and thousands of hopefuls have applied to the advertisement.

Agency: SWE

Insured Hit

Stevie Wonders Don´t you worry ´bout a thing, from 1973, is a perfect ad song for an insurance company.

Forsman & Bodenfors campaign for If has been a hit for years in Sweden and Don´t you worry ´bout a thing is an important part of the success.

Now it´s time for you to record your own cover of Stevie Wonders hit at the campaign page Send a Song and then, of cause, share it with friends. The best version will win a session in a real recording studio in Stockholm.

And I guess we will hear the result in the next If commercial.

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: