What Can We Tell You About Our Agency Situation in Sweden?

How we're working at Forsman & Bodenfors right now

Our country's strategy has been widely talked about. And it's true we don't have a total lockdown. Our public health agency's message is: Stay home if you feel the slightest symptoms. We have strong recommendations that you're familiar with: wash hands; exercise social distance; quarantine people over 70 and those with pre-existing conditions. Gatherings of 50 people or more aren't allowed, and we have restrictions for restaurants and bars. We've been told to work from home if possible. 

The majority of these actions are voluntary and build on the long tradition of healthcare in Sweden; the government trusts the people, and people generally trust the government. Nearly all Swedes (98 percent) say they've changed their behavior due to Covid-19. 

We face difficulties as well, but as an agency, we have it easier than most at Forsman & Bodenfors. We're equipped to work remotely and can adapt more than other businesses. But even in a privileged workplace, it's important to find new routines, which we discovered during recent work for a Swedish telephone company and mobile network operator.

We asked ourselves: In what way can a brand address this situation? A positive message wouldn't be enough. We needed to provide a real solution. Considering people over 70 are asked to quarantine, our client could help improve their new lives at home by offering unlimited data, making it easier to stay in touch with loved ones.

To reach the target audience, we wanted to shoot a TV commercial featuring people over 70. This, of course, presented a new challenge. How do we safely film people belonging to the most at-risk group, without breaking quarantine rules? Again, we had to rely on our ability to work remotely.

The entire production—idea creation, presentation, casting and filming—was handled virtually. We cast 25 people from around the country who all filmed themselves singing the same song using their smartphone cameras. They then sent their videos in for editing, and we worked to get everyone's voices together in symbiosis. By the time the ad ran on TV, only three weeks had passed from the idea's conception, making it the fastest TV production in our agency's modern history.

Telia Hall Kontakten

Like everyone else, we're learning as we go, trying our best to adapt to our new reality. What did this production teach us? 

It has reminded us to celebrate small victories. After years of working with huge, complex projects, we're now excited about every asset the collective manages to get out there—be it a print, a short TV commercial, a live show on Facebook, or a nicely done pitch. 

We've learned that brand-new ideas work better than using pre-Covid campaigns and trying to mold them to fit the present reality. 

Perhaps the hardest lesson of all—we're learning to let go of control. As an agency, we're used to putting a lot of time and effort into the craft. This is a reminder that we can still deliver quality work despite not being able to perfect every intricate detail.

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Silla Levin
Silla Levin is art director and CEO at Forsman & Bodenfors Sweden.

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