21 June 2017

A NEW Salvation Army fundraising campaign in Finland has captured the public’s imagination through an innovative ‘alternative reality’ approach. Former Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Peter Vesterbacka – Rovio's Ex-Mighty Eagle, the entrepreneur behind numerous mobile gaming phenomena – have been photographed in evocative, monochromatic ‘what if?’ portraits that picture these very successful people as being apparently destitute and on the streets. The Salvation Army’s message is that anyone can be affected by unexpected events which can lead to poverty.

Events such as accidents, illness, unemployment, assaults or the death of a loved one can start devastating chain reactions in a person’s life. The Salvation Army’s campaign seeks to highlight that poverty ‘can happen to any of us’, and that the international church and charity is here to help. 

Speaking about the adverts, both participants emphasise the importance of helping others. ‘It is vital to help your fellow man,’ said Tarja Halonen, explaining her rationale for taking part in the campaign. ‘This is human rights work on a daily basis.’

Peter Vesterbacka added: ‘By being a part of this Salvation Army campaign, I want to emphasise how important it is to care for everyone. Leaving nobody behind is the very essence of Finnishness.’ 

Head of Marketing and Corporate Relations for The Salvation Army in Finland, Anne Fredriksson, said: ‘We are delighted that Tarja Halonen and Peter Vesterbacka wanted to be a part of our campaign in such a personal and thought-provoking way. We are also very grateful for the pro bono work of our ad agency Make it Simple and the photographer Anton Sucksdorff, they really made this campaign possible. A warm thank you to our other partners as well.’

Reaction to the campaign on social media has been supportive in Finland and beyond, with comments such as:

The campaign also includes a hard-hitting ‘Sliding Doors’-style video. Details can be found (in Finnish) at www.autaihmistä.fi.

Report by IHQ Communications
International Headquarters

Tags: Europe