Soita Mummolle [Call Your Granny] was an award-winning grassroot social campaign aiming to sensitize people about the issue of seniors’ loneliness in Finland. Behind the project there was no funding, no companies, and no big social movement: it was a hands-on experiment to prove that the motivated action of a single citizen can change the status quo and spread positive ideas throughout society.
Started in April 2010, mainly via web and word-of-mouth, the project kept on developing using the “communication weapons” of guerrilla marketing, flash-mobs and street actions. The idea was to tackle the issue of an aging and often lonely population with a soft approach, perhaps naive: by finding the “improbable” message “call your grandma” on the street, people are challenged to act in first-person, to do a good action so simple that they don’t have any reason not to do it.
I organized six street actions, where passers-by could endorse the campaign by posing with the Soita Mummolle sign and donating their picture. I recruited volunteer phototgraphers to join me in the street actions through the Facebook group of the campaign. Over 480 portraits were collected and posted online on the campaign blog, Facebook Page, and Flickr gallery.
Knitted hearts, attached to a small flyer promoting the final flashmob, were “abandoned” on trams and metro trains, for the citizens to pick up. Over 120 hearts were donated by knitters contacted through the sites ravelry.com and etsy.com, and they came as far as from Australia, The Netherlands, USA, and Canada.
Call Your Granny Day: the flashmob
11th of August was the self-nominated “Soita Mummolle Päivä” (Call your Granny Day), and a flashmob was organized in the Kamppi area in Helsinki as a grand finale of the campaign. People could call their elderly relatives for free with mobiles sponsored by Sonera, and about 100 flashmobbers showed up.
The grand final of the project took place on 11 st August 2010, the self-declared Soita Mummolle Päivä [Call Your Grandma Day]. During this day, a flashmob was organized in one of Helsinki’s busiest squares, Narinkkatori. The public was invited to gather publicly and call their grandparents, giving a public demonstration of their commitment and care. Around 100 flashmobbers showed up for the event. Phone operator Sonera provided free mobile phones to support the flashmob.
I wrote my MA Thesis about the Soita Mummolle project. As part of the final project exhibition, MoA – Masters of Arts ’11, I created a photobooth installation, where people could take their selfie with the Soita Mummolle sign. The photos were uploaded in real time to the campaign’s Flickr gallery.
The campaign was a big success on social and mainstream media alike, and received full coverage by the principal national and local media outlets.
- Facebook page likes: 4137
- Blog unique visitors: 5445
- National newspaper articles: 16
- Web press articles: 21
- Blog posts (by other bloggers): 20
- Mentions/appearances in radio programmes: 6
- Mentions/appearances on National TV programmes: 3
- Discussion threads in online forums: 3
- ET:n Ystävyyden Tunnustuspalkinto – Award issued by ET Magazine
- Best MA Thesis Project Award, issued by Sato Oyj
- Best MA Thesis Project Award, issued by Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture, Department of Media