“Glöm inte bort att komma ihåg!”. Picture and information taken from the official press release. I look lowkey smug?
So back in January I was flown out from Austin to Stockholm to help make a public service announcement series for SOS Alarm (a Swedish state-run company that operates the emergency number 112 as well as 11313, 11414) created by the content marketing agency Spoon and hosted by the serial comedian, actor, father and soon-to-be author Kodjo Akolor.
Everyone in Sweden knows the emergency number 112, yet more than a third of the calls are wrongfully dialed and take valuable time away from those who really need emergency help. Our series intends to help Swedes make the right call at the right time.
Our first shoot was at a middle school, spending hours with 20 first-graders. It was chaotic, fun and a learning experience. There was crying, laughing and many recipes for slime was shared (Matilda had very deep knowledge of what bicarbonates to use for which types of slime… she was basically a chemistry prodigy. A Swedish Marie Curie!).
As expected, this first segment was both fun and chaotic. I memorized all the kids names in a minute or so, then we taught the class different mnemonics, they wrote sketches, performed plays and had a dance party. There was a lot of laughter, some tears and drama. The kids drew pictures to remember the right numbers to dial. Emelie drew a picture of me as a fairy (because the Swedish word for 11 sound the same as fairy I made this mnemonic for the number 1177 intended for non-emergency medical services and help).
At one point the kids stood in line to hug Kodjo (… and so they could get launched into the air). I wanted to join but I have the density of pure lead so no matter people’s effort to lift me these feet stay on the ground. On the other hand I could’ve helped minimize the line… but I’m scared of throwing humans since that time at preschool judo when I hurt Jessica and was thus the only kid in my age group who didn’t go home with a yellow belt…
Our second location was at a hip restaurant på söder. In between the two shoots we discussed diversity and comedy in Swedish media. Kodjo is deep y’all. And tall. Way way taller than he looks on TV! After the crew was done rigging we had a nice Swedish fika and discussed memory techniques on camera… if I recall correctly.
Two days later we shot our final segment at a mall. The game was to challenge shoppers to a memory duel – think David Blaine with his street magic but instead of magic it was memory techniques and instead of saying twaa everyone was like “oh ok”.
The reactions were wonderfully calm and collected with an appreciative nod. We also had some chilly outside segments, despite it being cold AF… We endured the Swedish weather for you guys so I hope you like the end result.
The campaign officially launches on Feb 28th local (Swedish) time! Here’s the first sneak peek!