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When night falls, it’s not Batman who goes out on the streets of Stockholm.

The night’s watch

Nattjouren is a service provided by Stockholm’s Stadsmissionen, a non-profit organization that works hard to make Stockholm a more humane city for everyone.

During the coldest months of the year, the Nattjouren team offers various forms of assistance and support to those who need it the most: the homeless. Together with Garbergs we helped out with a campaign to raise awareness – and money – to make sure this initiative is here to stay.

When we found out that various members of the team already ‘report’ about the evening on Twitter, we decided to center the campaign around the ‘journey’ of the evening.

Through GPS we live-tracked the team as they were out on the streets, parks and subways providing help. A dedicated site would visually tell the story of the evening: where they were, what they were doing, the help they provided and – essential to the project – the money they were raising.

A special app allowed the Nattjouren team to simply start and end the mission, write tweets on the go, simply identify and output the service they provided and summarize the journey at the end of the evening.

Backed up by traditional outdoor media, interactive billboards with live stream, TV coverage and boatloads of social media attention, the campaign has been extremely successful, raising over 13.8 million SEK and making sure this service will be here to stay.

Live but not intrusive

How do you make sure that you protect the privacy of the people that Nattjouren assits? How can you make sure the experience feels 'live' and compelling, while making sure that no-one really knows the actual position of the car?

We created a virtual timeline to which all events (GPS-coordinates, tweets, services provided and donations) were mapped. These anchors were all timestamped and saved in a big (!) database.

So when, for example, Nattjouren tweeted from their custom iPad-application, this was saved in the cloud and scheduled for being published to Twitter and to the campaign site just after thirty minutes.

The whole public experience (both the campaign site and the digital billboards) was, in other words, running a thirty-minute-delayed version of reality.

To amp up the visual look and feel, the experience changed mood based on time and weather. A dark and rainy night would result in a grim feeling, while a sunny morning would serve the user with bright and positive visuals.

Running the campaign with the timeline approach got a little more interesting when dealing with GPS-data that may or may not be accurate; how do you interpolate coordinates? What to output if the car all of a sudden has been moving a lot of miles? What if the team leaves the car and heads into the subway — how would you track that? Well, let's just say we took care of all these obstacles and a dozen or so more.

How we did it? That's another (and longer) story.

With Garbergs, 2013