Despite being Finland’s largest Swedish newspaper with 152 years of history, HBL’s brand understanding and perception was fighting for relevancy, particularly for many belonging to younger generations of Swedish-speaking Finns.

Beyond its Web site, HBL.fi, the newspaper wasn’t well known to many. We needed a brand campaign to raise awareness, as well as to help give meaning and new life to HBL. A clear and simple message was needed to explain what HBL represents and for whom.

With the “More than Words” campaign, we created a simple, noticeable, and slightly provocative wordplay by using abbreviations and acronyms to highlight meaningful content and good journalism.

Playing off of the newspaper’s abbreviated name, the “More than Words” campaign spoke to younger generations to make a statement in their native language: texting on mobile devices.
Playing off of the newspaper’s abbreviated name, the “More than Words” campaign spoke to younger generations to make a statement in their native language: texting on mobile devices.

We combined some often heard acronyms such as WTF, FYI, and BTW in the campaign copy. We also wanted to play around the sports world that has a unique emotion built in, so we also did a separate version based on the teams of the Finnish hockey league.

The use of short but strong acronyms and abbreviations enabled us to reach the target audience right on the busy streets of Helsinki. The campaign was designed to reach through even in the hectic city traffic and multitude of cluttered messages, colours, and noise. We created a short and simple language with a clear message that could be understood in a short glimpse of time, during a commute or shopping stroll.

HBL’s attention-grabbing campaign set the ground work for an ongoing platform, using the same communications style and building on its brand presence among younger readers.
HBL’s attention-grabbing campaign set the ground work for an ongoing platform, using the same communications style and building on its brand presence among younger readers.

For example, by using one of the flagship outdoor walls at the Forum Mall in central Helsinki, we managed to get our message through to a large audience, cementing our statement. Furthermore, we supported the campaign through outdoor billboards and ad posters around the Helsinki capital area and featured on local radio in Helsinki, the home base for HBL.

The campaign managed to create social media buzz, starting discussions and raising opinions for and against. We got the attention of media persons as well as the audience on the streets of Helsinki.

The campaign will also now be used as a brand communication platform going forward where we will create extensions and new versions using the same communication style.

Sometimes the best way to underline a message is to first cross through and hide one.