‘Smoorverliefd created a genuine cultural moment, a beautiful and authentic story that people really related to.’
At the Dutch Creativity Awards 2020, the multifaceted campaign ‘Smoorverliefd’ was a knockout success, taking home 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze Lamps, as well as 2 Nominations and the Members Awards. It was therefore no doubt that the Grand Prix was also awarded and extremely well deserved. With the goal of raising awareness about the dangers of texting whilst cycling, Smoorverliefd created a massive impact, both on teenagers as well as their parents. We revisit the project with Ruben Cusell, Head of Concepts & Strategy at Wefilm and one of the creatives behind this hard hitting and incredibly powerful campaign.
A huge congratulations for receiving your plethora of Lamps at this Dutch Creativity Awards! It seemed like an amazing day for you all. Could you talk us through how the team was feeling that day?
Well, in these crazy times, it actually was the first time we physically came together with a select few. Outside in the sun and with distance in mind of course. It was the first celebration of the year that came close to the feeling of really celebrating a successful case. The campaign was built on the collaboration of a wide range of specialists united by an important goal: getting kids safe on the road on their bikes. So it was awesome to celebrate this together instead of sitting behind a screen.
To create a campaign with such a high level of impact is truly an incredible feat – could you explain how the idea came about?
It was a combination of strong insights by research from Interpolis and TeamAlert, with theory from The Behavioral Change Group. It identified what does and doesn’t seem to resonate within the teenage community.
The idea was to create a track and videoclip based on true stories of victims. Research shows that stories from peers of the same age group are effective to get teenagers' attention. We chose to tell a romantic love story between two teenagers with an unexpected twist at the end. With the love story we created a relatable emotion for teenagers: the thrill of a first love. As soon as viewers are submerged into the love story, we confront them with the unexpected emotional impact of an accident caused by a phone. Just like the unexpectedness of a real accident.
We searched for an artist to tell this serious message in an authentic way: Snelle. The track and videoclip were accompanied by a mini docu to show how the track and videoclip are based on the painful reality of real victims' stories.
Finally, Interpolis developed an app that encouraged those who downloaded it not use their phone while cycling. By using the app, teenagers could win a school performance from Snelle on Valentine's day.
Part of the process saw Snelle and director Lennart Verstegen diving into the subject and spending a day with victims of accidents. Had you already decided to use a love story at this point to get the message across or was this decided on at a later stage?
Good question. We already decided that we had to use a universal theme that’s applicable for every teenager. And also a theme that gets teenagers hooked on their phone: their social connection, with the thrill of a first love as the ultimate example. At the same time, this is also a subject that adults can relate to. This was important as it creates a common ground between parents and teenagers to start a conversation. We knew from Interpolis and TeamAlert that these moments with parents are quite fundamental for behavioural change.
How did the collaboration with Snelle materialise? Was it your intention to work with him as soon as you heard the brief?
Nope. We did a very extensive research for the artist. It was clear the Dutch Hip Hop scene was most popular as 9 of 10 Dutch top 1 tracks are Hip Hop. However, we also had to find an artist that could authentically sing about a more societal subject. Research shows how super skeptical teenagers are about collabs between brands and influencers. You need to be spot on. This led us to Snelle who was about to release his first hit The Reunion. Together with Interpolis, we really trusted our intuition, the expertise of our partner AMP about Snelle, the enthusiasm of label Roq ’n Rolla, the spark when we met Snelle and the track he was about to release. That paid off :)
The Jury praised Smoorverliefd for being ‘ideally suited for the target audience’, ‘a highly effective campaign’ and ‘leaving the viewer speechless’, where over 50% of all Dutch teenagers in the target audience saw the campaign – did you expect such amazing results after finalising the project?
Well, we felt it had the potential, but that it was such a success you can only hope for. However, we do believe that we really planned it out carefully with a focus on earned media and a build up of the campaign that ended on the 14th of February with a concert tour from Snelle at high schools. All those pieces of the puzzle fitted perfectly. Most importantly, Interpolis was really committed to the cause giving Snelle and us lots of creative freedom. Even leaving out their logo at the end of the videoclip. In the end, I believe their trust was the most crucial part.
You’ve now worked with Interplois for several campaigns, one of which addressed motorists using their phones whilst driving. Can we expect more from this partnership in the future?
It was actually our fifth campaign with Interpolis and we surely strive to make more creative work together that changes behaviour.
What’s the first thing you do when starting a new project?
Bring focus on the end goal and take-out. Too often the end goal is lost in translation and then communication becomes the goal in itself. And talking about a clear emotional take-out, people are often touched by a single emotion that sticks.
How do you, as a team, get creatively inspired?
By being naturally curious. And with our roots in filmmaking, being receptive for human stories, big and small.
What are your biggest takeaways/learnings from this project?
Really listen to and trust in the expertise of the people you work with. It may sound cliché, but often there’s not a tendency of really throwing yourself and your team fully at a certain mission and trusting that in the end it will come back to you, also commercially.
Keep pushing buttons and dare to change, adjust and optimise your plans even while you’re in the middle of your campaign. You can’t predict exactly how things will turn out. And again, with a climate of trust and willingness, nobody ever gets the feeling that if you adjust plans, it’s a weakness.
Best piece of advice?
Be bold, be sincere and be passionate about your craft.