CEOs Tove Langseth and Jacob Sandström share their moves to rocking fresh creative


Keep it clean, kids

Samsung wants to be a meaningful brand. So when DDB Stockholm started working with Samsung Nordic, they took a holistic approach. When promoting Samsung’s new washing machine, DDB Stockholm didn’t talk about quieter spin cycles, but creating a more peaceful family environment. Could a washing machine get teens to help out their parents more at home? They created LANdry – the e-sport arena where you pay with dirty laundry. And by helping parents everywhere, they were able to reach their future audience too.

Learn the Power of the Dark Side

One of the oldest selling tricks in the publishing business is to offer a free giveaway when ordering a book. Maybe a bathrobe or an elegant wine opener? But what if the giveaway was a randomly selected item from the Internet’s darkest illegal marketplaces? That’s what DDB Stockholm and their client Daidalos, the small Swedish publisher and online book store, offered for customers with the launch of the book The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett. The Dark Offer became a concrete physical experience of the shadowy world Darknet is, where basically everything is for sale. Legal or illegal. So enticing, the offer sold out in the first day.

Chocolate ball takes on the Trump administration

In a time where many brands try to take a stand with big budget 90 second films about diversity shot in 30 fps, Swedish cake maker Delicato made an impact with a .jpeg featuring a lying chocolate ball. After the White House went into total bizarro mode with Kellyanne Conway’s comment about using “alternative facts” to support the lie that Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd was the biggest in American history, Swedish cake maker Delicato quickly posted an ad on Facebook making fun of the bizarre post-truth movement: just days before Conway’s legendary claim, Sweden passed 10 million citizens. The ad quickly went viral on Facebook and the print ad ran in FOKUS, the Swedish equivalent of TIME Magazine, the same week.

From annoying advertising people hate to delicate advertising people loved

DDB Stockholm’s first communication for new client Elkjøp, the largest electronics retailer in Scandinavia, set out to create a new brand journey with their Christmas campaign. Most northern folks are known for being timid and quiet. So instead of screaming the price of a 4K TV or shouting about the amazing deal on PlayStation 4, they encouraged people to add meaning to their Christmas gifts. Because things can say things too. Important stuff, that some of us might find difficult to say out loud.

Everything is Awesome

Hairmet helmets is a new brand of bicycle helmets founded by DDB Stockholm creative Simon Higby and Clara Prior of DDB Copenhagen. Born out of Simon’s thesis at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership on accidental start-ups (creating start-ups based on old ad campaigns), Hairmet helmets is a spin-off of DDB Stockholm’s previous Fun Theory campaign for Volkswagen and its concept that if you make something fun, more people will do it. Unlike traditional, uncool bike helmets, Hairmet helmets look like toy hairstyles and allow kids to become a life size version of their favorite toy characters. Launched online, it is now backed by one of the UK largest manufacturers and is in the final development stage at their factory. It is not made in conjunction with or endorsed by Lego or any other brand – it is a pure start–up product aimed at improving child safety. You should be able to buy a Hairmet helmet soon.
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It’s more about making things people want than making people want things

Today, every company is a tech company and it’s no longer enough to just keep up with technology. In response, the Nordic DDB Group has created a new unit called “Innovation & Prototyping” led by Andreas Fabbe, Digital Director, and creative technology directors, Sebastian Otarola and Johan Olsson. It started inside DDB Stockholm in 2015 and has initiated projects like “Instant Test Drive” for Volkswagen and “Happy Goggles” for McDonald’s. The latter turned the 30+ year old Happy Meal box into a VR headset and became big news last year with media and customers absolutely “lovin’ it”. Fast Company called its possible reach “almost unfathomable”, potentially making it the world’s most democratic VR platform with over 1 Billion Happy Meal boxes sold yearly.

Smoooth operator

Klarna is one of the leading (and fastest growing) online payment companies in Europe. DDB Stockholm became their agency in early 2016 and was tasked to transform the perception of Klarna from a B2B-orientated provider of e-commerce payment solutions to a consumer brand. They took Klarna from a technical and boring service to part of the emotional shopping experience. The campaign was one of the most talked about of the year and changed the image of what a payment service can be, setting a new standard for the whole industry to live up to.

New recruits just ain’t what they used to be

Today’s passive lifestyle leads to poor health and a poorer quality of life. And this was also affecting the Swedish Armed Forces. New recruits no longer meet the same standards as their predecessors, with many recruits dropping out early due to poor health. But The Swedish Armed Forces has been a training expert for hundreds of years and DDB Stockholm decided to re-launch the SAF’s training philosophy in a modern way. They created a complete, easily accessible and intuitive training tool for everyone that went on to become the third largest training club in all of Sweden.

Gender Equality: Start to Walk the Talk

Post-truth may have been the word of 2016, but for those of us in advertising, it was the year we had to be honest with ourselves. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the sexism and lack of diversity that permeate our industry. We cannot shrug off gender inequality as a cultural problem or try to alleviate our guilt with panel discussions and culture days. For an industry so dependent on its talent and its ability to connect with people, remaining idle on these issues is not only shameful – it’s stupid.

To be honest, I never feel I’m qualified to speak out about gender inequality. I’m certainly not perfect. But that’s just the point. It’s not a comfortable topic, particularly for us men. We have to be willing to admit our own unconscious bias – and maybe even some conscious ones – if we really want and believe in change.

I’ve always felt lucky to be working at DDB and to have a legacy to reflect on when questioning the way forward or when needing to find the courage of my convictions. It’s no surprise there was plenty of inspiration to pull from here, too. There is no better case study of the value of a diverse creative department than DDB’s. No bar graphs or revenue growth charts could ever map out what that mixed bag of streetwise creatives delivered.

Remember those guys who wrote “Why try harder?” for Avis, “You don’t have to be Jewish” for Levy’s, and came up with the ballsy “Lemon” headline for VW? Well, they were all female copywriters.

Of course, no woman was more of a pioneer than DDB’s longtime VP, Phyllis Robinson, who was our agency’s first copy chief as well as the first female copy chief in U.S. history. If Bill Bernbach can be called the father of modern advertising, Phyllis was most certainly our mother.

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Phyllis Robinson

As DDB’s first and only copywriter at its founding – and the first female copy chief in U.S. history – Phyllis Robinson broke all the rules and opened doors for many women (and men) who followed. She promoted an atmosphere of creative freedom and respect where people had the opportunity to take chances and where diverse opinions were valued and nurtured. We are proud to launch the Phyllis Project as a tribute to her vision, intelligence and trailblazing contributions to our industry. To read more on Phyllis, visit