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Danish agency &Co. turns unseen scientific research into 72 million views with ‘The Indoor Generation’ campaign

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A girl, a house, and no fresh air: these are the main ingredients of the video at the heart of window and skylight manufacturer VELUX’s ‘Indoor Generation’ campaign. The campaign is made by Danish creative agency &Co., and its goal is to expose the severe health risks involved with a life led predominately inside with the persistent problem of a bad indoor climate, which affects most buildings. Problems that have been largely unknown to the general public until now.

The campaign unearths a number of shocking insights and brings them together under the banner of ‘The Indoor Generation’ – a term coined by the agency &Co.

This remarkable 3-minute film has hit a nerve all over the world, with over 72 million views and counting. And according to Viral Thread it is already the UK’s most viewed branded video of 2018.

“When we saw the research and data, we were horrified.” says Robert Cerkez, Creative Director and co-founder of &Co. Diving into the extensive research material collected by VELUX, including a survey by the analysis institute YouGov across 14 countries, the team discovered that:

  •            People spend 90% of their time indoors.
  •            Indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.
  •            Damp and mouldy homes increase the risk of asthma by 40%.
  •            Lack of daylight makes 15% of people sad.
  •            Daylight can boost children’s learning by 15%.
  •            Children’s bedrooms are often the most polluted.

Traditionally, the focus of VELUX’s marketing to end-users has been on products, and the agency was originally approached to create a B2B product campaign. “But we felt society at large had a right to know about this. So instead of talking about windows, we decided to talk about ‘the problem’,” continues Robert Cerkez of &Co. “For which the VELUX products are of course part of the solution, but only a part. The way we like to work is to open up a discussion between many stakeholders and the general public.”

&Co.’s strategy combines scientific research with clever marketing and employing the right media partners (such as New York Times, USA Today, UNILAD, Huffington Post, Viral Thread and I Fucking Love Science), to ensure credibility and reach.

“We wanted people to be able to recognize themselves as part of The Indoor Generation and really feel – both mentally and physically – the importance of this agenda. We set out to create a campaign that travels between people, and we managed that by tapping into intrinsically human insights – and by integrating the creative development with the distribution strategy from day one,” says &Co. Head of Brand Activation and Social, Morten Saxnaes.

The film is artistically directed by one of Denmark’s most promising directors, Martin de Thurah, of renowned Scandinavian production company Bacon. When it came to defining the visual language of the film, documentary style might have been the more ‘traditional’ or obvious approach. But the team opted for a more poetic route instead, making clever use of symbolism and highly stylized art direction.

“The clear glass houses allow us to see ourselves from the outside – as spectators to our lives.  We featured them in the film to show our evolution: We have gone from being part of nature to being apart from nature. This is thought-provoking, and we wanted to illustrate this unnatural behavior in a visually engaging and almost anthropological way,” says Lone Tvedergaard Bach, &Co. Strategy Lead.

“One of the many interesting challenges was how to portray a slow and silent killer. These are invisible problems – you can’t see bad air, you can’t see lack of light. I call this approach ‘going to the dark side of the moon’. We don’t talk about the light side – windows – but rather about the dark side. The most explosive subjects are always on the dark side,” concludes Robert Cerkez.

YouTube video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygHU0mQGuJU&t=1s

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