Putting welfare on the political agenda

2015 was an election year in Denmark, and FOA wanted to put welfare on the political agenda. FOA wanted a campaign with focus on the actual state of welfare – a subject that is not only very important to their 193,000 members, but also to the Danish population.



FOA wanted to put welfare on the political agenda in order to prevent zero growth in the health care sector. They wanted to influence the public debate – and to involve their members in the process. Furthermore, it was crucial to FOA that the campaign helped FOA position itself as a trade union that actively push issues that are important to their 193,000 members.

Instead of creating a traditional political campaign showcasing FOA’s arguments, Zupa wanted to find arguments and messages outside the political world in order to influence the public opinion on the subject. The goal was to create a campaign that would echo the Danish population’s view on welfare.



We started the process by conducting a survey of the the Danes’ view on welfare in collaboration with Epinion. Interestingly, the survey showed a clear gap in the public perception of the current state of the Danish welfare system.

Based on these insights and data Zupa developed a campaign platform that evolved around a fact site – Central to the site was the traffic generating test tool – ’Exit Velfærd?’. Users could test their knowledge of the welfare system by guessing facts and numbers about kindergartens, hospitals etc. The test also made it possible for the audience to discuss their views on the matter and share it via social media.

The data from the survey and the input from the test tool was used to fill the website with facts and statistics on the public opinion and expectations. These were facts such as “55 percent do not know that 3,000 people die every year in the Danish hospitals due to infections” and “77 percent of all Danes want more resources to the health care system”. We aggregated these insights with actual stories about the welfare system from FOA members in order to balance the hard core facts with the emotional stories from the front line of the welfare system.

  1. The campaign was fuelled by a two phased effort:
    In phase one our goal was to get the target audience to complete the test. This was especially driven through FOA’s website, newsletter, local associations and the trade union’s Facebook page, as well as online banners and Facebook ads designed to drive traffic to the test tool.
  2. In phase two we used the collected data to drive attention to the facts and expectations to our welfare system in order to influence the public debate leading up to the election. Phase two was also complimented by print ads in national newspapers, radio spots and spots in public transportation.

We continuously monitored the campaign. The answers from the online test, and the reactions to the different facts that were shared on e.g. Facebook, were adjusted and optimized to ensure the messages got maximum coverage.



The two phased campaign strategy worked; In less than two months, over 150,000 users visited the website, and more than 20,000 users took the test – which was six times as many visitors as expected.

Content from the website was shared more than 3,200 times on Facebook and Twitter – more than 700,000 users were exposed to the campaign messages.

Most importantly, the campaign successfully put welfare on the political agenda. The campaign gained massive media coverage. DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) had a feature on welfare, and FOA’s campaign facts were used several times in the TV debates between party leaders during the election campaign.

The campaign challenged the conventional approach to political campaigns. The result has been an eye-opener for the trade union – especially in the use of data and social media in terms of engagement of their members and a broader public.



One month after the campaign launch the Social Democrats made welfare a priority election theme.