Campaign SpotlightPress Release

Diak returns hundreds of rejection letters to highlight discriminatory recruitment against Finland’s Romani community

HELSINKI, FINLAND — Finland may be one of the most equal countries in the world, ranking among the best in gender equality and equal pay but the Romani minority still faces open racism and experience discriminatory recruitment. This is despite the fact that their descent has lived in Finland for hundreds of years. In recent decades, more Romani people have been holding degrees and joining the workforce but securing employment remains an uphill battle for many.

That’s why national higher education institution Diak and creative house SEK collected hundreds of Romani people’s rejection letters from Finnish employers to send back to the companies.

“Rejection letters are the norm for Romani people in Finland. We decided to return the letters to companies and remind them to give everyone an equal chance for employment no matter their background,” said Katri Perho of Diak.


The letters had an attachment that invited companies to join the freshly founded employer pool: a portal that helps Romani people identify employers that are willing to hire people of Romani descent. According to research, up to 5% of all companies in Finland say they are not open to hiring a person with a Romani background.

“That’s why plain words no longer cut it. We need to see concrete action from employers to ensure equal opportunities for all,” Katri continued.

The campaign uses employers’ own words to drive a message

By using the companies’ rejection letters as a medium, the real challenges the community faces daily were highlighted.

“One goal was to raise hope among younger Romanis. We want to highlight that getting an education and applying for employment is worth it, as all applicants should always be treated equally,” said Katri. 

“The stories we heard from Romani people while creating this campaign were shocking. We want to help drive as many companies as possible to join the campaign. That’s why using employers’ own words as a tool was the best route to take. The limited budget also meant there was no room for traditional media, another reason why direct mail was used as our primary media,” said SEK’s Creative Director Lauri Gran and Senior Creative Samuel Räikkönen.

The returned rejection letters’ attachment was designed by Tino Nyman, a prolific Finnish graphic designer of Romani descent.



Advertised brands: Diak Romako

Advert title: Background irrespective
Advertising Agency: SEK, part of GREY

Creative Director: Lauri Gran
Senior Creative: Samuel Räikkönen
Designer: Tino Nyman
Graphic Designer: Emmi Nordgren
Project Director: Outi Helminen
Account Director: Mira Vierto
Film Producer: Katariina Kangas
Director: Kimi Issakainen
Film Editors: Rasmus Wilén, Markus Hyvärinen
Communications Team: Essi Orama, Julia Ruuskanen, Sara Pitzén
Social Media & Influencer Marketing Lead: Enoma Edevbaro
Published: 01/23

Partner with adobo Magazine

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