Dial-a-Swede

/ written by Mike Passalacqua

I’m serving up a quick call out to an award-winning marketing campaign called The Swedish Number produced by Ingo Stockholm for the Swedish Tourist Association.

The concept was fairly straightforward: devise a telephone number that allowed people all over the world to call a ‘Swede Ambassador,’ who would discuss any topic at all with you, Sweden-related or otherwise.

This required engaging a telecom firm to create a huge switchboard that could support incoming phone calls and randomly selected connections 24/7. And it required recruiting Swedes interested in acting as untrained and unscripted phone Ambassadors at a moment’s notice. I know that one of those was the Swedish Prime Minister. That’s pretty cool.

I mentioned unscripted, so please note: The now-concluded campaign was launched in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of Sweden abolishing censorship—as a professional communicator, I applaud the free flow of ideas and information (at least as much as my legal team lets me).

According to the website, in its 79 days of operation, The Swedish Number:

  • Was called over 197,000 times
  • Was called by people from the US more than any other country
  • Had an average duration of 2 minutes, 41 seconds per call

One final note: If the number was still active, I’d call to talk about meatballs.

Because I dig meatballs.