How an Experiential Stunt in Finland Challenged Lobbying Norms and Sparked Nationwide Debate


Lobbying usually will get a foul rap, conjuring photos of backdoor offers corrupting politicians with cash. However over in Finland, a inventive company challenged these norms with an uncommon lobbying marketing campaign utilizing experiential advertising.

Not like many lobbing efforts that occur behind closed doorways, the marketing campaign for Finnish retail big S Group garnered nationwide media consideration and galvanized supporters and critics throughout the nation. It was created by United Imaginations, an company based final yr by three former TBWAHelsinki executives. 

The context is that this: Finland’s pharmacy market is among the strictest and monopolized within the European Union. Medicines, together with chilly medicines or painkillers, are solely allowed to be offered at privately-owned neighborhood pharmacies. 

S-Group, Finland’s largest retail chain, is lobbying for a system akin to different European nations, the place medicines may very well be offered in retail chains, supermarkets and through on-line pharmacies (whereas nonetheless underneath the supervision {of professional} pharmacists). The retailer stated in a press release that it “desires Finnish customers to profit from extra inexpensive medicines, higher opening hours and new pharmacy companies.”  

Utilizing experiential methods

To problem the established order, S Group enlisted United Imaginations, which determined to convey this debate to the general public. The company constructed a mannequin pharmacy within the coronary heart of Finnish capital Helsinki. 

Within the prototype pharmacy, individuals can browse the cabinets and expertise first-hand a distinct manner of accessing medicines–thus drawing their very own conclusions about whether or not to alter the system. 

“S Group wished to rethink what lobbying may very well be in a contemporary society open to debate and new views,” stated Jyrki Poutanen, inventive director and founding member of United Imaginations. “No hiding behind gimmicky messages, no hush-hush about their objective. They wished to be fully open about their position within the dialog.”

Guests may browse the prototype pharmacy and resolve for themselves whether or not the nation wanted itUnited Imaginations

The marketing campaign took a flip when a critic observed a typo on a package deal of faux vitamin D, which used the inaccurate unit of micrograms as an alternative of milligrams. The error sparked a debate in Finnish media, with the opposition arguing that supermarkets had no proper to promote any sort of medication. 

However that mistake, which was then fastened, ended up bringing extra visibility to the marketing campaign. The mannequin pharmacy turned headline information in Finland and began a nationwide dialog about having a extra open and aggressive pharmacy market. 


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