Ad of the Day: Tourism Stunt Gets People to Call the Quietest Place in Switzerland

Jung von Matt's latest offbeat idea for Graubünden

Sometimes, it takes an entire village … to answer the telephone.

To wit: Tschlin, a bucolic community nestled in the majestic mountains of eastern Switzerland's Graubünden region, is famed for being so peaceful, so quiet, that when the phone rings in the village square, the whole population of 166 can hear it.

So, what could be better than a tourism campaign designed to shatter the alpine serenity by making that phone ring constantly, right?

Last month, Jung von Matt/Limmat staged a six-day promotion in Tschlin, inviting folks from far away to call the village-square telephone. Each time a resident failed to pick up, the caller would win a Graubünden vacation or other prizes.

During the contest, locals went about their normal routines, but dropped everything to bolt for the square whenever the telephone rang. (One dude's ox looks miffed when the '70s-style jangling interrupts its bovine reverie.)

"The key to success was the interaction," JVM senior consultant Christoph Kinsperger tells Adweek. "People could become part of the campaign, whether you were from Tschlin or a caller."

Callers visiting the contest website were able to see who they were talking to in Tschlin. That was a neat way to forge a connection, literally, between a destination and potential visitors, and in keeping with the spirit of other recent tourism campaigns designed to creatively convey a sense of local color. In fact, JVM and Graubünden have teamed up for innovative campaigns twice before, dispatching a wacky yodeler as a goodwill ambassador last year and leveraging Facebook in fun fashion in 2011.

Thanks to heavy media coverage, the village-phone program generated 30,000 attempted calls and 4,000 conversations, along with 1.5 million video views and 500,000 website visits. Total prizes awarded: 68.

Hey … you don't win a blessed thing when you call a Swede! C'mon Sweden, pony up some swag already! (And it better not be meatballs.)

Actually, the JVM team believes prizes weren't the main motivation for the high volume of contest calls. "After a while, we realized that people were taking part in the contest not because of the prizes, but because of the conversations," Kinsperger says. "They were not unhappy at all if a Tschliner was picking up the phone."

Client: Graubünden Tourism
Manuela Ruinatscha-Michel: Head of Product Development
Nicole Derungs: Project Manager

Agency: Jung von Matt/Limmat
Samuel Christ: Executive Creative Direction
Johannes Raggio, Marco Zimmerli: Creative Direction
Alain Eicher: Copy
Lukas Frischknecht, Andrea Klainguti: Art Direction
Joelle Hauser: Graphics
Marco Dettling, Monika Arnold, Roman Mösli, Roman Meister: Consulting
Sarida Bossoni: Art Buying
Ralf Brändli: Head of Technology
Matthias Wobrock, Dominik Habermacher: Online Marketing
Christoph Kinsperger: Public Relations

External partners:
Luc Kämpfen: Film Production: ferrari.kämpfen
Jingle Jungle AG: Sound
Nicolas Henri Sieber: Tech: Kamerawerk GmbH
Valentin Altorfer: Tech: Simple Mechanik