Film can be a powerful tool / a local love story.

Case: #HortenLove

In the summer of 2015, the municipality of Horten launched a promo film with the aim of increasing local pride amongst their citizens. The film shows that Horten is world leading in certain areas of technology. Horten has an innovative business community, beautiful nature, a spirit of compassion, a wonderful cultural life and much more.

Lighthouse were invited to produce the film, together with Hocus Focus, a leading post production company in Norway. The municipality of Horten fonded the production, in collaboration with the local business community.

#Hortenlove is a film project that became a local love story.

Before we started any part of the production, a comprehensive insight study (Moods Communication) was carried out on behalf of the municipality. The insight analysis made it clear that the inhabitants of Horten didn’t exactly functioned as ambassadors for their own municipality.

The reason could be that Horten’s business sector, decades ago, had suffered some major losses. First because the Navy’s main yard was moved from the city in the 60’s. Later, in the 80’s, the industrial giant Horten Verft was closed down. Thousends of people lost their job, and this seemed to have spread a negative attitude in the community that never actually went away. Even now, many years later, also younger people had inherited the same opinion as their parents and maybe grandparents: Horten was “the ugly duckling.”

What makes us different?

The film we were about to make should give answer to a very important question: what differentiates Horten from similar cities? What is it that makes us stand out? Through closer reflection, we found that it is quite a lot.

Right outside our doorstep, Horten carries a spectacular history. The Vikings from Horten were amongst the most innovative and fearless vikings of all times. They were experts in the field of maritime technology and they were fantastic shipbuilders. Out in the big world our vikings conquered markets and gained wealth.

Still innovative vikings

Altough we are considered much more pleasant business partners than our ancestors, people in Horten have retained the innovative viking spirit. When the Navy moved their activities in the 60s, some engineers stayed here. They started their own technology companies, and today these companies are considered world leaders in their field, especially in the maritime sector.

So what is there not to be proud of? As film makers we really had to pinch our arm. This was a perfect frame for telling the story of Horten.

A filmproject that became a local love story.

A local love story

The large technology companies in Horten have their customers abroad. Therefor they had low interest in promoting their actions and impressive innovations to the local community. Also, our viking history wasn’t very much on the agenda. But the film changed that. Now we could lift up all these wonderful assets, and it was done through beautiful footage and a high end production. We even used one of the most famous norwegian actors to perform the voice-over (Nicolai Cleve Broch).

The reception was exceptional with more than 40 000 views and 1200 sharings the first 24-hours. It was no doubt that the film touched something in the local community. Suddenly “everyone” started talking positive: I’m so proud of my city! Have you heard about all our innovations? Look at our beautiful nature, and so on. Also, the hash-tag: hortenlove became very popular. Everybody was using it, putting out images, telling the world how great it is here (check it out on Insta: #hortenlove).

The result

A year later, the municipality did another insight analysis. We hardly believed the results. Horten sailed above the national average in migration, and througout all history – we had always been below! The fact that people became ambassadors were absolutely crucial for our population to grow.


People became a part of “the brand.” This case shows the power of storytelling and the advantage of using film as a tool.


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