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    Finnish Salvation Army Dresses Ex-President as Vagrant to Protest Injustice

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    Finland's Salvation Army has kicked off a new high-profile fund-raising campaign to raise awareness for victims of circumstance. The highlight of the campaign is the "guest appearance" of several prominent personalities, including a former president of the country posing as a vagrant.

    The message of the new campaign is that anyone, even seemingly irreproachable top-tier professionals such as doctors, lawyers and chief executives can suffer from back luck and lose everything they have.

    "There are more and more people in need of help, including families with children, so we obviously need more donors. With a broad campaign we hope to reach a wider audience," Finnish Salvation Army marketing director Anne Fredriksson told Finnish national broadcaster Yle.

    Visually, the campaign appeals to the public through black and white photographs, depicting among others, gaming giant Rovio's ex-director Peter Vesterbacka and former President Tarja Halonen as far less fortunate individuals. Another highlight is a video film, where a middle-class family father is hit by a car, ultimately leading to his downfall.

    #tarjahalonen for @pelastusarmeija w/ @jmannio @kirsiparni @shadi.razavi @kasimirhaivaoja

    Публикация от ANTON SUCKSDORFF (@antonsucksdorff) Июн 16 2017 в 5:47 PDT

    The Salvation Army hopes to double its proceeds with the help of high-profile guest appearances.

    "In previous years, donation campaigns netted 1.5 million euros. Now we thought we could potentially double the earnings and better stress the problems that exist in the Finnish society," Fredriksson explained.

    The Salvation Army has engaged in fund-raising in Finland since 1979. In recent years alone, the Salvation Army sent out 70,000 collection letters. The organization does not aim to abandon the practice, but rather complement it with clever advertising campaigns.

    According to Fredriksson, Tarja Halonen was asked to appear in the campaign as an insightful opinion maker who has vast experience in dealing with Finnish society. Conversely, Peter Vesterbacka is known as a successful business leader and often regarded as a lucky person.

    "By personally entering the lives of the less fortunate, Vesterbacka and Halonen showed how ill luck could have hit them as well," the press-release said.

    In reality, though, Vesterbacka and Halonen themselves never posed for the campaign, but only contributed their faces and risked compromising their official personas for stressing how wrong things can go, Frederiksson explained.

    #petervesterbacka for @pelastusarmeija w/ @jmannio @kirsiparni @shadi.razavi @kasimirhaivaoja

    Публикация от ANTON SUCKSDORFF (@antonsucksdorff) Июн 16 2017 в 5:47 PDT

    The total cost of the campaign is said to be just over €100,000. This was made possible because the Salvation Army received free space in magazines and on TV, most notably on Finnish national broadcaster Yle's channels, as well as free promotional work.

    According to Fredriksson, the typical benefactor in Finland is a private donor, more specifically a middle-aged woman, whereas young people are more likely to contribute to charities by volunteering. The collected money goes to counseling and support groups, camps, service and day care centers, as well as family and youth work.

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    Tags:
    salvation army, Tarja Halonen, Scandinavia, Finland
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