You're a Hero, Not a Scofflaw

Getting Swedes to Pay for Public TV

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Public broadcasters that rely on a mandatory annual fee from viewers for income are often backed by legislation that requires anyone who owns a television set to pay up. TV license advertising tends therefore to be very authoritative in tone, and often focuses on the consequences that face anyone who evades payment. In the U.K., for example, the BBC had an infamous BBC detector van to hunt for scofflaws.

Swedish public broadcaster Radiotjänst has turned this line of thinking upside down with a campaign by DraftFCB that lauds those who do pay the license fee as heroes in a customizable video designed to go viral.

Although 90% of Swedish households pay the fee, that figure falls to 60% among certain groups, like the young people most likely to see this viral. Since the effort launched in mid-November, some 6.1 million videos have been created and shared. More importantly, 2,500 new subscribers have registered and paid the fee online. At the end of the clip, a screen asks Swedish citizens, "Not paying the broadcasting fee yet?" and asks them to input their identity number to register. It invites everyone, of course, to forward the video.

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