A contest, coming to China, is intended to teach people how to differentiate Sweden from Switzerland, and it might lead to a world-wide campaign. ”You’re from Sweden? I have a cousin in Geneva!” Most traveling Swedes have heard a comment similar to that when out in the world. At the Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai, the staff wanted to do something constructive and fun about this constant confusion. ”You hear it a lot here. Sweden in Chinese is Ruidian, and Switzerland is Ruishi. Those words sound very similar and the first character is the same,” says Consul General Viktoria Li. Thus a campaign was launched on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. The Swiss Consul General thought the idea was fun and came on board as well, so now the two consulates are operating the campaign in which the Chinese come up with humorous suggestions on how to distinguish between the two countries. The prize is a trip for two to Sweden and Switzerland.

The campaign is carried out through social media. In one picture, Sweden is illustrated by a dad carrying his child in a baby carrier, a moose, meatballs and a homosexual couple, while Switzerland is symbolized with money, cheese fondue and the tennis star Roger Federer. ”We make fun of ourselves with stereotypical images of the countries,” says Frida Roberts, director of communications at the Swedish Institute, which is also involved in the project. And the Swedish Institute is currently busy trying to figure out how this campaign can be used by other consulates and embassies around the world. ”This is something I myself have often come across when I travel. We are praised for our beautiful mountains and our fine watches. And in international surveys, Sweden gets the highest points on the banking sector,” Frida Roberts adds. The campaign’s impact in China has been great, and many suggestions have been received. ”Chinese journalists and bloggers came to the launch of the project. Me and the Swiss consul have been on live chats and got hundreds of questions in just an hour. There’s also been discussions on Chinese radio and it has been written up in the papers,” says Viktoria Li. The campaign has also spread outside China's borders—Swiss and German media have reported on it, too.