The Gold Egg Award (Guldägget) is Sweden's oldest and largest communication competition. It started in 1961 and has since then grown and become an ever wider competition that covers most of what can be called communication.
The award explores the value of creativity in branded communication: from packaging design and digital development to the creative strategy, execution and impact, celebrating new ideas shaping the next wave of creativity.
The purpose is to draw attention to the best advertisement, lead the industry forward and raise the level of the creative standard. The award work as a natural platform for a constantly ongoing discussion about Sweden can become even better at communicating and even more involved in social problems, pension savings or a new chocolate bar with mint flavor. The award does this by inspiring and giving courage to everyone who works within the communications industry in Sweden.
Each year a gala is held around the time of Easter (hence the name), where approximately 1500 guests take part in an evening celebrating last year’s best, most innovative and smartest communication in 13 categories (2020) where both agencies and clients attend and celebrate together. Each winner takes home a 1.5 kg brass egg.
Those who are awarded are not only rewarded themselves but also show others how to outdo themselves. In this way, the winners serve as good role models and examples for others, both for individuals and collectively.
Q> Congratulations to the NoA Agencies 27 shortlisted entries in Guldägget 2020! Looking back at 2019, what were some of the highlights for NoA, or maybe especially for Åkestam Holst (24 of 27 shortlisted entries)?
Petronella> When it comes to creative awards, I would say that one of the things we’re most proud of, is that we were awarded “International Boutique Agency of the Year” at ADC (Art Directors Club) in New York. Here at home in Sweden, we’ve been the most awarded agency at Sweden’s biggest creativity award - Guldägget - three years in a row, and we’ve also been the most awarded agency in the Campaign of The Month Award for the third consecutive year.
Q>In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, how will you celebrate the success with staff, clients and partners?
Petronella> Guldägget is normally the industry event of the year each April. Now that it has been postponed, we’ll save our celebrations until we’ve made it through this difficult period. I’m hoping for a great summer party instead!
Q>As one of Sweden's most successful creative agencies, how would you describe the culture you have created at the NoA agencies?
Petronella> Our ambition every single day is to combine a friendly, human and inclusive culture with the objective to create world class advertising.
It sounds obvious, but if you are to deliver extraordinary results, it’s easy to end up with a tough and elitist culture. That is something we work hard to avoid and one of the underlying factors of our success is that we value personality as much as talent when we hire people. If you are an asshole you are not welcome at Åkestam Holst, no matter if you are the world´s biggest creative talent.
Q>Could you tell us more about your top shortlisted entries such as ‘Ölavtalet’ and ‘A hard pill to Swallow’?
Petronella> Ölavtalet is a campaign that wants to make people stop cancelling hangouts with their friends. We created a legally binding contract to ensure that the saying ”let’s have a beer sometime” became something people would actually commit to.
‘A Hard Pill to Swallow
’ is a campaign that wants to highlight the fact that there is no environmental regulation around the manufacturing process for a lot of pharmaceuticals being sold at pharmacies in Sweden. The campaigns are very different from each other, one is funny and one is deeply serious but both make great examples of “show don't tell” – of doing something instead of just telling a story. In this case, a legally binding contract, and a pill made of wastewater from pharma factories.
Q>During this coronavirus pandemic we have seen many brands reevaluate their tone when advertising. Do you believe brands currently have a hard time adjusting and finding the balance to offer something to the community without appearing opportunistic?
Petronella> If you are to succeed as an agency today, you HAVE to be perceptive to the world around you. We are not good advisors to our clients if we can’t contribute with our understanding of people and the world today. Advertising needs to be responsive to the zeitgeist. It’s easy to think that as a brand, you can just lay low and wait for better days to come, but I’m convinced that brands that manage to play a role even in the face of crisis, will be the winners when all of this has passed. It’s about making a difference and adding value to people’s lives.
Creative lead & copywriter
House of Radon
Q>Last year #DearCondom won the film category. Could you describe the journey you have made from #DearCondom to the sequel Dear Condom II?
Alexandra> Musicians with a hit debut album often dread the thought of making a second. We felt the same when RFSU requested a sequel. We wanted to create something huge with Dear Condom, but it never occurred to us that this could be a long-term platform.
After many sleepless nights, we realised that we couldn't do a mere continuation of the film; we needed to add something new. When the idea of letting viewers switch perspectives between two people (and read their insecure thoughts) came to us, we knew we were on to something cool.
The idea spread at Radon, and our colleagues got really excited, especially the editors – who’d never edited a film made of two parallel films before. The tech department also had its fair share of headaches and long nights. Dear Condom II
pushed the boundaries of what we can do at Radon – for that, I think that we should be incredibly proud.
Q>Several Swedish celebrities have spread the initiative in social media, sharing their own vulnerable thoughts about sex. How important do you believe this has been for the campaign's success?
Alexandra> One learning from the previous Dear Condom campaign was how blocked we got online. Heavy kissing and nudity aren’t something Mark Zuckerberg approves of, even though it’s for a good cause. So we had to be clever regarding how we get our message out there.
The idea of letting influential people share their innermost thoughts and insecurities was a natural extension of the interactive film. We figured it would be powerful to see someone you admire being that honest about something as personal as sex. Vulnerability is incredibly tough to share, especially on a polished platform like Instagram, so we were really happy to see that so many people dared to participate.
Authenticity has been key from the start in our collaboration with RFSU, so getting a second layer with real people’s stories in the campaign was a fitting way to remain faithful to that.
Q>Could you describe the relationship you have built with your client the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education throughout the years? What has been the key to this award-winning collaboration?
Alexandra> We have developed a really strong bond with RFSU by now, and it’s been built on two years of blood, sweat, tears and laughter. It’s been clear from the start that all of us believe in this organisation so much that we are willing to go the extra mile whenever it is called for. This joint effort is what has led to the success of the Dear Condom platform – with such a great response from the cast and the young people in Scandinavia that we wanted to reach with this.
One of the greatest assets during these years has been the fact that RFSU is an organisation with tremendous amounts of knowledge and insight. They know their target group extremely well and have a very deep and genuine understanding of what the target audience needs, feels and does. Being able to work closely with their experts – like for example Pelle Ullholm, who is one of their sexual advisors – is an endless stream of learning for us. Also, it’s such a luxury to have a sounding board that isn’t afraid to tell us off if we’re feeding sexual stereotypes or if we’re pushing the limits too much