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

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Lobbying usually will get a foul rap, conjuring pictures 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.

In contrast to 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 12 months by three former TBWAHelsinki executives. 

The context is that this: Finland’s pharmacy market is without doubt one of the strictest and monopolized within the European Union. Medicines, together with chilly medicines or painkillers, are solely allowed to be bought at privately-owned group pharmacies. 

S-Group, Finland’s largest retail chain, is lobbying for a system akin to different European international locations, the place medicines might be bought in retail chains, supermarkets and by way of on-line pharmacies (whereas nonetheless underneath the supervision {of professional} pharmacists). The retailer mentioned in an announcement that it “needs Finnish shoppers to profit from extra reasonably priced medicines, higher opening hours and new pharmacy providers.”  

Utilizing experiential strategies

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

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

“S Group wished to rethink what lobbying might be in a contemporary society open to debate and new views,” mentioned 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 function within the dialog.”

Guests might browse the prototype pharmacy and determine for themselves whether or not the nation wanted itUnited Imaginations

The marketing campaign took a flip when a critic observed a typo on a bundle of faux vitamin D, which used the wrong 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 drugs. 

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