Winner 2022

Travel & Tourism


Visit Sweden

Entered by:



Forsman & Bodenfors, Hill+Knowlton, B-Reel Films, Ljudbyrån

Discover The Originals

The Challenge

As the world opened up to international travel once again, Visit Sweden needed to increase inbound tourism to the country by building a stronger brand image of Sweden as an inspiring and sustainable destination.

The challenge was to cut through the fierce competition for travellers as the international tourism market opened up again. To do this, we needed to go beyond beautiful imagery and find an authentic hook to truly connect with people from all over the world, one that was uniquely Swedish, immediately understood and that promoted the country and its people.

So, how do you make the entire world discover a destination like Sweden? If you don’t have much of a media budget, then you need a big idea… or a big problem!

The Content Solution

We were equipped with some big insights:

  • Some brands represent their countries in international consciousness and create a connection that transcends borders.
  • Humour (especially ‘in-jokes’) boosts ad recall
  • Cross-promotion and collaboration between brands is a profitable way to increase reach and engagement.

For many people, Sweden = IKEA and IKEA = Sweden. It is one of Sweden’s best known and most loved brands on the international stage and its Kallax bookcases, Ektorp sofas and even Bolmen toilet brushes are in homes around the world. IKEA’s products are ubiquitous…but what is less well known is that those same products in their home, are real places in Sweden.

We used humor to show how one of Sweden’s greatest exports, IKEA, has hijacked the names of beautiful places in Sweden, and that Visit Sweden was reclaiming them to promote Sweden as a destination to the world and encourage people to discover the originals!

Sweden offers a smörgåsbord of destinations and memorable experiences, so our campaign presented 21 places to visit across all 21 Swedish regions – everything from Viking monuments to picturesque towns, castles, and silver mines – each with a name that also serves as an IKEA product.

We aggressively bought media over a very short period of time to increase reach and amplify PR initiatives, deploying a multi-channel media approach across seven markets (US, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway). The goal was to maximize reach, frequency, and gain social buzz within the first few weeks by surrounding the audience with our message in lifestyle editorial, social networks and across their trusted travel magazines and outlets such as Yahoo Life, Conde Nast Traveller, Zeit Online, Travelbook, Stern, In The Know.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

We then struck a deal with IKEA to own the search keywords for the specific products / destinations in paid listings to capture the interest, with IKEA stepping aside so we didn’t get into a bidding war.

A launch event was held by Lake Bolmen where the Lake’s new slogan: “Bolmen – more than an IKEA toilet brush” was revealed.

Within hours of launch, global and local publishers across the news, travel and design sector received PR kits and wrote articles. Online integrated video was supported with social media executions carrying slogans like ‘More than an IKEA Sofa’, directing people to and our travel guide to 21 places to visit that shared names with IKEA products.

Micro-influencers increased engagement and shares by showing what a trip across Sweden to visit their own IKEA furniture would look like.

We used Google search listings to ‘hijack’ high-volume key search words for IKEA products. So, when people searched for Bolmen (Toiletbrush) or Ektorp (Sofa) they saw our Visit Sweden ads telling them it was ‘more than just an IKEA sofa.’

IKEA even interacted with the campaign creating further reach and engagement.

The Result

We truly awakened travel interest:

  • Overall travel related searches for Sweden increased 3x more in the markets targeted than the global average
  • Time on site increased more than 5% in all key markets and an astonishing 11% in important market Germany.
  • 85% increase in searches for ‘Sweden’ and ‘Swedish Experiences’ on travel research sites like TripAdvisor 9% more searches for travel keywords related to Visit Sweden in 2021 vs 2019
  • 75% increase on hijack keywords versus Visit Sweden’s average CTR

Connecting paid with earned generated greater impact than budget:

  • PR reach: 2.1 billion views through paid and earned editorial and social media posts.
  • 700+ articles published across 49 countries with 300+ blog posts.

It captivated the audience:

  • Video completion rates across each market overdelivered. Overall completion rate of 81%, 15% better than benchmark.
  • Total dwell time on global native articles performed 176% above benchmark and generated over 8 million impressions.