Aftonbladet Swedish Heroes campaign inspires audiences, attracts ad sponsors

By Tobias W Lindner

Schibsted Brand Studio, Schibsted Sales & Inventory

Stockholm, Sweden

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Climate change, terrorism and shootings — today’s news is filled with negative events. But at the same time, the world is full of heroes their actions. Everyday people show courage, compassion, and love to their fellow citizens. More than ever, we all want to be inspired by their heartwarming stories.

That is exactly what Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest newspaper, wanted to put in the spotlight when creating Swedish Heroes more than 12 years ago. This series includes engaging stories about heroic actions that inspire all of us to good.

Swedish Heroes is one of Aftonbladet’s most appreciated projects ever — not only by our readers, but also by the commercial partners who are fully funding the project.

A large, televised gala is held each year to celebrate the winners of the Swedish Heroes campaign.
A large, televised gala is held each year to celebrate the winners of the Swedish Heroes campaign.

Swedish Heroes is live 365 days a year, and Aftonbladet encourages people to nominate everyday heroes throughout the year. The most engaging stories are published in the daily print newspaper, online articles, and video content.

As Swedish Heroes is running on full throttle, it has grown highly successful, with more than 5,000 heroes nominated by the Swedish people in 2018. These nominees created editorial content that generated several top news stories at Aftonbladet and an amazing 20 million pageviews and 30 million video streams.

The partners are proud to be a part of Swedish Heroes, and they are given a unique chance to build their brand in a context of heroic storytelling and connecting their corporate social responsibility work with this heartwarming project. Each commercial partner gets to choose a hero category of their own to present in this context.

The 2018 commercial partners were:

  • The Swedish Armed Forces presenting the “Youth Hero.” 

  • Ramudden presenting the “Guardian Angel.” 

  • Alvedon presenting the “Caretaker.” 

  • SOS Alarm presenting the “Lifeguard.” 

  • Agria pet insurance presenting the “Animal Hero.” 

Every year, Swedish Heroes has a grand finale with a big gala, where winners in each category are celebrated on stage by celebrities, politicians, and royalty. All heroes nominated during the year are carefully reviewed by the Swedish Heroes jury — a prominent jury with highly influential profiles with a broad span in age, gender, and background: Commander in Chief at Försvarsmakten (The Swedish Armed Forces), Micael Bydén, influencer Margaux Dietz, and musician and producer Quincy Jones III were among the members of the Swedish Heroes jury in 2018. The jury’s mission is to choose a hero for each category.

In December 2018, the TV live broadcast gala peaked at 650,000 viewers and was the winner amongst the linear channels at the 9 p.m. slot. The gala at Aftonbladet TV had almost 2 million streams, including the live broadcast and clips. The gala was promoted in Nordic Entertainment Groups linear channels, VOD channels, and on the radio stations RIX FM and STAR FM. And of course, it was marketed in Aftonbladet’s channels. Commercial partners are visible in all communication and are represented on stage at the gala when celebrating “their” hero.

As the news feed inevitably continues to unfold dark headlines, which is a vital part of the journalistic mission, the stories from the Swedish Heroes are a heartwarming counter balance.

Swedish Heroes is loved by the users, loved by the partners, and a profitable way to inspire.

About Tobias W Lindner