Campaign: Honouring the volunteer work of sports enthusiasts across Sweden by telling their inspiring backstories
Publisher/Agency: Bonnier News Brand Studio, Sweden
Sweden has produced many great athletes who all have one thing in common: they started out as mentees of the countless people who volunteer their time in sports associations all around the country. In Swedish, there is a word for these people: Eldsjäl, meaning "fire soul".
To honour these unsung heroes, Folkspel, a lottery that donates its surplus revenue to non-profit sports associations, created Eldsjälsgalan––the Fire Soul Awards––a live event broadcast on national television. But it felt the event needed to be more than a one-night show.
In order to demonstrate that success can be measured in more ways than medals, titles and fame, Bonnier News Brand Studio decided to produce up-and-close video segments of all the nominees. These videos showed that behind every nomination is a strong story about struggle, compassion, inclusion and spirit.
In addition to being a live event broadcast to millions, The Fire Soul Awards has now become a serial in its own right, appealing to the general population who could follow events from nomination to coronation, through native articles and documentary videos.
The campaign consisted of 135 digital native articles, eight print advertorials (published in three outlets), 24 documentary segments and one live event.
The Fire Soul Awards content was distributed through:
Distribution platforms included Bonnier News’ Expressen, one of Sweden's largest sports publishers, and Expressen Sport’s newly launched editorial sub-section called "Föreningsliv" (“Association Life”), which covers amateur athletes.
The campaign was also promoted through print advertorials, the live event broadcast and Expressen’s Instagram and Facebook profiles.
Additional reach was achieved through client-owned channels and earned media.
Folkspel has seen its surplus revenue increase year after year, partly as a result of the partnership with Bonnier.
In 2021, Folkspel saw a record increase of SEK 120 million (€12M), making it one of the largest benefactors of non-profit sports associations in Sweden.
Its 2021 exposure and engagement numbers for the native content were:
Total pageviews: 6,391,572 (+173% vs KPI)
From Click: 2,004,267
Avg. Time Spent: 2:20 mins (+16% vs KPI)
From Scroll: 4,387,305
Avg. Time Spent: 1:23 mins
Started video streams: 2,018,266 300
Nominations: 25,000 votes
Folkspel holds the all-time high in engagement for native content on Expressen for a single piece of content. Several articles broke 200,000 views.
Bonnier News has seen an increase in organic media coverage of amateur sports that was not there at the beginning of its partnership with Folkspel.
A creative native advertising campaign such as a live event can help initiate a shift in what is considered "newsworthy". It can even earn regular exposure on national television, radio and news outlets.