Our challenge was that Christmas is one of the most important, and most competitive seasons for mobile operators. Operators fight to be heard, competing with the same prices for the same array of products. Standing out is almost impossible.

Our insight was the dilemma of gifts. If you communicate what you want, you sacrifice the element of surprise. If you don’t communicate what you want, you may get a gift you don’t like. Dropping a hint may go unnoticed or misunderstood. This holiday season, Finnish mobile operator DNA set out to change this.

DNA gave all of their purchased advertising space to consumers. People could make a wish on the website DNA.fi/toive, pick a media channel, choose the device they want as their gift, and then collect “likes” for their wish.

The wishes with the most likes got their not-so-subtle requests on billboards, TV ads, banner ads, DNA’s Facebook page, outdoor ads, painted posters or even sung by a choir.

All of this led to surprising and fresh, but still highly tactical advertising that stood out from the competition.

The campaign kicked off with an elaborate stunt. A woman who wanted a new iPad Air for Christmas was invited to pull a prank on her husband. The couple received movie tickets for a long-awaited night out. When they finally got to the multiplex, they were treated with a very special piece of pre-movie advertising, streamed live from their home.