A Railway Company Just Made an Incredible Ad Touting Acceptance and Equality

TBWA\Stockholm's work for Swedish Railways

The ad is a powerful message of acceptance.
Vimeo: TBWA\Stockholm

At a time when the world feels divided, many marketers are opening their arms to show support for people with different backgrounds and beliefs. SJ, short for Swedish Railways, is the latest organization to do so in an ad from TBWA\Stockholm that tells the story of a man named Paul.

The spot, “Paul’s Journey,” opens on Paul riding an SJ train. He’s enjoying the scenic views when suddenly he starts to make a few alterations to his appearance.

Paul begins with earrings, nail polish and pink glasses before finally ducking into one of lavatories to change clothes completely, leaving the train wearing traditionally female clothing including a dress and high heels. While Paul makes this transformation the entire train cabin looks on with acceptance, not judgement.

“While working on the brief and the overall platform of SJ being an inclusive brand, we talked a lot about the wide range of journeys people take with SJ. For example, commuting to work is a small, every day journey. But what would be the opposite? People who move to another city, changing their lives, changing everything,” Johannes Ivarsson, a TBWA\Stockholm copywriter, said.

According to the agency, SJ felt like the right fit for a campaign like this one because the company is “the most democratic and inclusive form of transportation in the country, covering the entire nation and offering affordable tickets to everyone.” Roughly 130,000 Swedes use SJ, a 161-year-old company, each day.

“In a time when some politicians are trying to divide people and shut people out, we decided to remind Swedes that SJ is there for you, whoever you are, wherever you wanna go,” Ivarsson added.

Agency: TBWA\Stockholm
Agency team: Johannes Ivarsson, Alexander Fredlund, Per Olholt, Pernille Nylen-Janze, Kalle Widgren
Production company: B-Reel Films Stockholm
Director: Anders Hallberg