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Stories told in the language of immigrants deliver critical messaging  during the pandemic

We're highlighting the winners of the Native Advertising AWARDS 2022. This post features the Best Use of Text.

  • Campaign: An Innovative Multilingual Universe on Norway's Largest News Site
  • Publisher/Agency: Schibsted Brand Studio, Norway
  • Brand: The Norwegian Directorate of Health, The directorate of integration and diversity (IMDi) and The Norwegian Institute of Public Health

COVID-19 infection rates climbed rapidly throughout Norway in 2021 and by March had reached the previously-unprecedented heights. It was crucial that control measures reached the entire population, not just those who spoke Norwegian. 

At the time, nearly half of those testing positive for the coronavirus in Norway came from a foreign background. Those hit hardest were from Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan. Poland was one of the main countries bringing the virus into Norway.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health wanted to strengthen the message to limit social gatherings amongst these hard-hit immigrant communities. The aim of the communication was to reassure the population that it was OK to say no to meeting up and to provide good reasons for refraining from social gatherings.

Read more about this award-winning case in our interview with Schibsted Studio's Mikeala Folkestad and Mindshare Oslo's Henriette Skådinn

It published five articles in six languages (totalling 30 articles) on Norway’s largest news site. The content introduced readers to role models from different backgrounds in various social settings such as student life, family gatherings, faith communities and migrant worker situations.

For example, one followed a Muslim working at the Rabita Mosque who discovered a new appreciation of nature during the pandemic. Another focused on a migrant worker from Poland who was unable to leave the country to see his five-year old daughter.

Distribution

Schibsted used three different channels to distribute the articles: the news site VG.no, VG´s Snapchat channel and the Facebook account of the Directorate of Health.

The top content placement on the frontpage of VG.no was used heavily. VG is the biggest digital editorial newspaper in Norway with over two million daily readers. With 5.4 million people in Norway, VG.no is the primary news source for many Norwegians all over the country.

VG's Snapchat channel on the discovery page has over 500,000 daily users and reaches a younger audience.

The Directorate of Health’s Facebook account has over 150,000 followers.

Schibsted also used Facebook ads for a wider reach.

Screenshot 2022-04-20 at 16.03.09

Results

During the two-month campaign period, the content was read over half a million times and viewed more than 30 million times on the home page of VG.no. 

The content was published in Norwegian media but read more in other languages! More than half of the page views were in other languages. 

The content also generated engagement, with average active reading times of around one minute for all languages despite the articles being published in Norwegian language media. 

The article with the Polish interview subject was read nearly as many times in Polish as in Norwegian. This is a group that generally has less trust in the authorities. 

Presenting the content in six languages recognised the multilingual nature of the audience. The multilingual content has also contributed to democracy in practice.

Takeaway

Multilingual content can be essential to reach an audience and get it to understand key messages. 

Hitting a target group in their own language and using their own role models is very important for achieving engagement with hard-to-reach audiences and target groups.

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