“Swissness” is a term coined by the Swiss to position the country as a trendy brand on the global stage. These modern and trendy attributes are normally not used to refer to the former state- owned company Swisscom. Swisscom wanted to add more “Swissness” to their personality, to liven up their current more sober image.
The young, future-oriented target group was to be addressed emotionally, with the greatest possible dose of "Swissness". The decision fell on "Urban Hacking" as the marketing tool. In contrast to the flashmob, which has neither a predefined number of participants nor predefined intentions and motivations, “urban hacking” plays with the idea that people hack into a specific content. This allows better planning of the action and its outcome.
The event took place one day before the start of the winter Olympics in Vancouver, where Swisscom was one of the main sponsors for the Swiss Olympic team. Zurich main train station was selected as location, as it’s sees about 300,000 travellers on any given weekday. Themed "United for Switzerland" 100 trained actors “hacked” into normal, day-to-day events at the train station. Appearing out of nowhere, they cheered unsuspecting commuters on as if they had won an Olympic medal; waving Swiss flags, hoisting them onto their shoulders and handing them medals. After this explosion of activity, all actors merged back into the crowds, leaving behind a confused but pleasantly surprised commuter and highly entertained bystanders.
A best-of video of all scenes appeared on YouTube the following day. A special touch of “Swissness” was added to the video by a voiceover in form of an imitation of sport commentator legend Matthias Hüppi. In parallel, a French version of the video was uploaded too.
The event accumulated 160,000 clicks within two weeks. A strong presence in the relevant Swiss online media was achieved: about 2,500,000 accumulated gross contacts on Blick.ch, 20min.ch and Goldentalents.ch.
For Swisscom, Urban Hacking was a milestone on the way positioning itself as a Love Brand.