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Why Sweden’s Secret Stash of Creativity is Like Chanterelle Mushrooms


B-Reel’s James Jenkins on a peculiarly Swedish obsession

Why Sweden’s Secret Stash of Creativity is Like Chanterelle Mushrooms

Swedes are obsessed with mushrooms. Especially the Chanterelle. Chanterelles on toast, chanterelle soup, chanterelle sauce. It’s doesn’t really matter, it is all good. 

As part of this obsession, Swedes have their special mushroom spots. Highly coveted and shrouded in secrecy, often handed down by the older generations. 

The Swedish creative industry has been treated much like a mushroom patch. People find them, realise the potential and then keep them locked away as a secret resource. The Swedish culture, by and large, does not focus on the need to self promote or brag. It is about being satisfied in one’s work. Therefore, if the mushroom pickers are willing to treat the patch well, then there is no reason to seek another route to market. 

However, with the globalisation of the world and rise of digital media, more and more mushroom pickers have nosed their way into the Swedish market. A once treasured secret is now being exposed and exploited by a much broader set of clients. Will this ruin the integrity of the patch, leading to inferior mushroom quality?

Although it would take a mountain to change the Swedish culture, they are generally very adaptable to change. The new challenges of working with different clients and industries has been taken in the stride of strong Swedish organisations. It has not affected who they are, just how they operate.

At B-Reel, we are undergoing this very transformation, with many different types of clients seeking access to the Swedish creative culture. Whereas in years past our clients have been other creative agencies, we are now working with a much more diverse set of clients, such as Google, Spotify, H&M and Facebook. If you truly have a desire to create amazing ideas, then you are welcome in our patch.

James Jenkins, European Director of Client Operations for B-Reel, has been living in Stockholm for nine months with his Swedish wife and children, having lived in the USA for seven years and the UK since childhood.

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