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Brief Published: 5 Jul 2018

Finland’s Most Popular Film Ever was Brand-Made

There's nothing new about branded content. But how did one Finnish ad firm manage to produce a movie that outperformed Titanic at the box office, and offers an entirely fresh roadmap for funding entertainment?

At this year's Cannes Lions, Eka Ruola, chief executive of Finnish marketing firm Hasan & Partners, revealed how the company helped develop The Unknown Soldier. The World War Two movie, released in 2017, has now earned more than €14m at the box office – €6m more than the previous highest-grossing film in the region, Titanic.

Hasan & Partners involved top Finnish brands throughout the production and marketing process to bring the film to a huge mainstream audience. Finnish lottery company Veikkaus encouraged customers to submit casting videos, which the filmmakers used to hire extras; while dairy brand Valio used augmented reality to create milk-carton posters that enabled customers to see pre-release footage.

"The main objective was to set the bar high," said Ruola. "We aimed at being the biggest thing in the country altogether, not just the biggest movie."

It was an incredibly effective project in its ability to target potential viewers at multiple touchpoints beyond billboards and online platforms. It's a great example of a campaign that taps into numerous key marketing trends we've been tracking – from New-Wave Branded Content, to Third Spaces, to the Brand Studios concept discussed in our Look Ahead 2018.

For more from the festival, see our three Cannes Lions 2018 reports.