Ugly truths at Cannes Lions. Case Helsingin Sanomat.

When news topics turn into physical products. Case Ugly Truth sweaters for TBWA/Helsinki and Helsingin Sanomat.

The ugly sweater trend around Christmas time has become a fun, full-of-laughter tradition. However, in 2018, a Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat together with globally recognised creative agency TBWA Helsinki was asking our help to turn these seasonal garments into something more than a fun fashion statement. Something that even led to a design nomination at Cannes Lions.

The challenge

During the darkest days of October, TBWA Helsinki was seeking to find a partner who could help them to make tailor-made sweaters from natural materials with multiple unique designs, within a month’s notice by using a local Finnish producer. Framme could make it happen, they must have been thinking. And we did make it happen. With our network of producers, suppliers and craftsmen, and our hard-working marketing concierge Sam we were able to pull a few aces of our sweater sleeves to tackle the TBWA challenge.

Ugly Truth Christmas Sweaters for Helsingin Sanomat by TBWA Helsinki and Framme

The solution

Together with our production partner, a tiny and lovely knit making studio in Lieto, we started working together to make sweater prototypes; providing a few samples for different strings and colour alternatives, a hand-knitted sample, whilst also working to create knitting instructions for the newspaper readers which were also requested by TBWA. After a month of hard work and many long nights, we were able to happily deliver wool sweaters with five different designs to meet the campaign’s deadlines. 

Everything went better than we ever could have imagined and it took us less than two months from design to having the actual sweaters go live with the marketing campaign”

Noora Murremäki,
Account Director & Partner at TBWA Helsinki

The sweaters were released together with a set of articles published in Helsingin Sanomat that look at each subject in detail; climate change, war, plastic in our oceans, technological manipulation and sexual harassment. These news articles contained strong point of views from people who had contributed to tackling the Ugly topics, including Nobel Peace Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari and #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke. These guys also received their copy of a knitted Ugly Truth sweater.

This campaign under a tagline “The truth may be ugly, but it never goes out of style”, reminded Helsingin Sanomat readers that they continue to investigate and report on matters that are controversial and important to be discussed and investigated. The Ugly Truth campaign also got nominated at Cannes Lions in 2019 in the Cannes Design Lion category, which makes us at Framme super proud to be working with creative wizards like TBWA Helsinki.

Read more about the Ugly Sweater case in the Adweek post