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Stockholm School of Economics SSE Working Paper Series in Economic History, Stockholm School of Economics

No 2017:4:
Party in Business: The Swedish Social Democratic Party's Advertising Venture 1947-1997

Erik Lakomaa ()

Abstract: The Social Democratic Party not only ruled Sweden for most of the 20th century; they also owed of one of the country’s largest advertising groups. The company, founded as “Folkreklam” in 1947, later renamed “Förenade ARE-Bolagen” rapidly became the dominant player in outdoor advertising in Sweden, and remained in this position until the late 1980s. This paper covers the history of the company from its inception in the late 1940s to its eventual merger with J C Decaux in the 1990s. Aspects such as governance, strategy and creative development are covered in the paper, and also the importance of the men who ran the company. A central question also covered is why the company lost its leading standing and the Party found it necessary to divest itself of the company. As will be demonstrated the relationship with the ruling Social Democratic party was very beneficial for the company; both when it came to the acquisition of advertising space on billboards and in the public mass transit systems, and for acquisition of customers. During most of the company's active years there were no public tender laws regulating public procurement and Förenade ARE-Bolagen was able to win a number of profitable accounts from government agencies, regions and municipalities without formal competition.

Keywords: Advertising; Business History; Sweden; 1947-1997; Social Democratic Party; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: M37; M39; N84; (follow links to similar papers)

28 pages, November 3, 2017

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