The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Awards Case Studies The Drum Awards For Marketing EMEA Marketing

How onion farming sold Swedes on abstract 5G benefits


By The Drum, Editorial

June 13, 2024 | 7 min read

Taking PR Gold at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2024 is PR 5G Onion from Prime Weber Shandwick and Telia. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the award-winning work

Example of winning work

Watch the campaign video here.


Telia is Sweden’s leading 5G distributor and has quickly ensured that (almost) every square meter of the country has 5G connectivity. However, because of the investments in network upgrades, they’re a bit more expensive than the competition. To make people keep choosing Telia instead of other telecom brands, we needed to make sure that people felt the power of 5G, and how it will benefit them and their lives.

But 5G is abstract, invisible, and extremely hard to explain. No one, no competitor or even Telia, has been able to really explain the endless possibilities with 5G. This has resulted in the perception that 5G is not something the average person can see or feel the benefit of, but only something very few technically savvy people or big companies can understand or be excited about. The challenge was to find a way to connect 5G to something much more present in the everyday lives of people, far away from big industries and telecom companies, and get people excited about 5G by helping them understand how it will be a part of revolutionizing most everyday objects and routines.

In short: we needed to make people understand that 5G will have the power to change everything for everyone, even you and me.

Key Objectives:

  • Cut through the media noise
  • Create a campaign that highlights Telia as an innovator
  • Give people a reason to care about 5G


Research showed us that the majority of people don’t see the benefits of 5G. 66% of Swedes don’t even understand the difference between 4G and 5G, and 7 in 10 don’t think it’s important for them at all. Only 7% see it as an important feature when buying a new phone.

We also know from research that 91% want companies to be beneficial to society, something Telia has a long history of doing. Since day one, Telia has connected Sweden and built a technical foundation people have used for decades, from building the first phone lines to bringing the internet to the broad public.

The main insight for the creative work was that if we wanted people to be more interested in 5G, we needed to both make it easier to understand, but also show why it will benefit everyone’s lives, just like Telia has always been.


The solution became an innovation of the most mundane item in people’s lives – the yellow onion.

Telia teamed up with agricultural robotics company Ekobot, and used 5G-powered autonomous field robots for precision farming to rid the fields of weed. A high-tech method that uses fewer pesticides but ends up with a more exquisite-tasting onion, much-improved shelf life, and, most importantly for the environment, a larger harvest.

And just like that, the 5G-onion was born.

We launched the onion as the tech innovation it truly is, using the same visual expression and tonality as other tech products. We conducted a pre-launch with an online film, teasing the ground-breaking new innovation from Telia about to be released. We then revealed the innovation by sharing the full story about the onion online, on social media, and in print ads, where we explained the technical specifications and how 5G had contributed to them.

The onion was then made available in every store nationwide, sharing shelf space with other coveted items like iPhones, headphones, and smart tablets, enhancing its accessibility and impact. It came in a classic limited-edition box inspired by exclusive product drops, evoking the same sense of novelty as any other tech launch.

To highlight that this was a true innovation and not just a marketing stunt, we put it in the hands of Sweden's most renowned chef, Gustav Leonhardt, to review its taste and shelf life. He designed a three-course dinner for influential invitees with a special ingredient as the main hero – the 5G onion.

Shortly after, our innovation was made available in selected food retailers all over the country, so that everyone could get a taste of 5G.

The 5G-onion was something the world had never seen before. With the help of an ordinary everyday object, we brought Telia and something as dry and distant as connectivity into the physical, real world, demonstrating how the connectivity of the future can improve parts of our daily lives.


We wanted people to be interested and excited, and they certainly were!

The chef said it both tasted and looked better than regular onions.

The campaign got a total reach of 81,424,993.

The campaign site had over 236,000 visitors, which is 23,500% more than benchmark from Telia’s previous campaigns.

But it wasn’t all about the news and clicks; people were also genuinely curious about the real onion and brought home more than 12,600 onions from Telia stores all across the country. And they bought them in regular supermarkets as well; in one of the local supermarkets, the sales of onions increased by 300% during the week they sold the 5G-onion. Additionally, the onion also showed a close connection to the brand. The brand tracking showed that people considering Telia as the leader within 5G was at an all-time high after the campaign period. But most importantly, we made a complicated subject like 5G easy to digest and showed how it can contribute to real positive change - one onion at a time.

Examples of PR Outputs

To create curiosity and interest, we launched the onion just like any other tech innovation. First, we had a pre-launch with a teaser film online and on social media, generating buzz by teasing about an innovative and revolutionizing product launch from Telia. We followed up with a website that explained the technical specifications, “product demo” with Swedish Chef of the Year (Gustav Leonhardt), and finally, a full roll out of the campaign, making the onion available in stores across Sweden – with a packaging worthy of a true innovation. We added a small number of digital ads and social media content to complete the launch.

An important key to success was the very targeted placement of media stories, where we built the campaign around several different components: the technical innovation, the sustainable farming method, and the quality and taste of the improved produce. This strategy allowed us to tailor the story to fit news, tech, food, lifestyle, and sustainability media, generating interest from niche media. The story about the onion could be told in many different ways, focusing on the recipes and the taste for food media, retailers selling the onion for local media, and the technical revolution in farming robots for tech media. By increasing the chance of getting coverage in several different media segments, we maximized the potential for aggregated reach.

Ready to get your work recognized on a global stage? Enter The Drum Awards today. Need more inspiration, read our Award Winning Case Studies.

Awards Case Studies The Drum Awards For Marketing EMEA Marketing

More from Awards Case Studies

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +