Carlsberg’s late founder delivers posthumous TEDx talk - UPDATE

Carlsberg’s late founder delivers posthumous TEDx talk - UPDATE

Can a life philosophy that inspired a 170-year-old brewery still be relevant in your life today? Probably. That’s why J.C. Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg, took the stage for a posthumous TEDx Talk in Copenhagen, on August 23rd. #ProbablyTEDx

August 24th, 2017, Copenhagen - To celebrate its 170th anniversary, Carlsberg Group revives their founding father, and lets him share his life philosophy with the whole world during a unique TEDxCopenhagen event in the New Carlsberg Glyptotek. 

Heritage without nostalgia.

Consumers increasingly prefer authentic brands over the glitter and glamour of big international brands. This evolution has led to a lot of brands going back to their roots and to the revelation of heritage campaigns. Most of those campaigns however are filled with nostalgia. It leaves people looking back. As if those were better days. They give you a warm feeling for a couple of minutes, but then you’re back in the real world. That’s why Carlsberg decided not to run a nostalgic heritage campaign. Carlsberg wanted to use its purpose that reflects the spirit of the founder of Carlsberg to make people look forward, by giving them something that is relevant for them today, something they can remember – in best case - for the rest of their lives. 

The ‘Probably TEDx’ idea and the entire campaign, from strategy to the film and the event over the speech, the holographic time travelling and the connectivity content plan that goes with it, was conceived and orchestrated by Happiness, an FCB Alliance.



On August 23rd, TEDxCopenhagen hosted an exciting day of talks at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, under the theme of ‘Trust Uncertainty’. Five selected speakers will shared their views on the uncertainty of existence, the challenge of predictability, the force of coincidence and adventure, and the challenge of turning insecurity into new interesting facets of life. For the highlight of the event, TEDxCopenhagen and the Carlsberg Group brought J.C. Jacobsen back to life using hologram technology for a truly unique presentation.

Watch the aftermovie here:


Life advice from a dead man.

More than the factories, the offices and the products they make, great businesses have an animating principle: a philosophy that drives them. A purpose that guides every decision that must be made. The bedrock where the company was built on.

To celebrate its 170th anniversary, Carlsberg revives the late J.C. Jacobsen, and lets him share his life philosophy with the whole world. This life philosophy is embodied in one simple statement: ‘Why you should answer every question with Probably.’

This is the title of a posthumous TEDx Talk by J. C. Jacobsen, Carlsbergs founder. On the 23rd of August, around 1PM CEST, Jacobsen took the stage at the TEDxCopenhagen event and shared his life philosophy. It may seem odd to get life advice from a dead man, but the idea behind his business can help anyone today to break new ground both in business and everyday life.


An innovative mind is timeless

J.C. Jacobsen was an true pioneer. J.C. Jacobsen and the Carlsberg laboratories are behind some of the most groundbreaking discoveries, including the PH-scale and purified yeast. In times of yeast sickness, which affected the entire brewing industry, J.C. Jacobsen decided to share his revolutionary pure yeast across the world, probably making him the one of the first business leaders to work open source. In 1876, he left his company to the Carlsberg Foundation, which today oversees the Carlsberg Group, and supports basic research within natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Before the term ‘brainstorm’ was coined, J.C invited leading thought leaders from arts, politics and other disciplines to share their ideas..

As an innovative mind is timeless, it seems only natural he shared his life philosophy on an innovation platform like TEDx, so everyone can benefit from it, both in business or in everyday life.


Hosted on YouTube Live

In collaboration with MDH Hologram, the original and leading company within the live hologram technology, we brought J. C. Jacobsen to life using the latest techniques in hologram technology – allowing J.C to interact live with the audience.

The posthumous TEDxCopenhagen Talk of J.C. Jacobsen could be seen by a live TEDx crowd in the Copenhagen Glyptotek and on YouTube Live for the rest of the world. 


Film promoting the talk.

To announce the posthumous TEDxCopenhagen Talk of J.C. Jacobsen an online film is launched in which J.C. Jacobsen, in 1883, receives an invitation from TEDxCopenhagen to come and share his life philosophy. The movie is filled with real events from J.C. Jacobsen’s past: the brewery burning down, the love of his life, his friends, etc….

Link to movie:


The live speech.

Pieter Claeys, Copywriter: “To revive J.C. Jacobsen with the greatest care, we based ourselves on the rich documentation of The Carlsberg Archive. The aim was not only to be historically correct but to really understand his psyche and his soul. We needed to grasp his thinking in order to use his mind and write a speech based on his life philosophy that was in sync with reality in 1883, but at the same time relevant for all of us today. To do so we created a team of speechwriters and biographers from The Carlsberg Foundation.”

Link to making of :


The J.C. Jacobsen TEDxCopenhagen Talk.

In short, the Talk was about the virtue of uncertainty. J.C. Jacobsen lived in a world of rapid change. 18th century Europe was an agrarian society. By the end of the 19th century, it was an industrialised, urban society. Times of great change make people worried, and people who are worried often retreat into false certainties. Black hats or white hats. Left-wing or right-wing. Blind optimism or relentless pessimism. Answering every question with yes, or answering every question with no. 

J.C. Jacobsen however, wants you to run at and embrace uncertainty, and offers ‘probably’ as an alternative answer on every question. Probably is the opposite of dogmatic belief and static mind-sets. Probably is a scientific approach to life, saying that our current theories are only our best guess, and that a new better idea might be discovered at any time. Answering every question ‘probably’ makes you break new grounds, in business and in everyday life as well.

Watch the full J.C. Jacobsen TEDx Talk on YouTube here:


The live appearance of J.C. Jacobsen.

Geoffrey Hantson, Chief Creative Officer: “J.C. Jacobsen appeared on the TEDx stage via hologram. The reason we choose that technique is that we found out that the first kind of hologram was actually invented end of the 19th century (it was called ‘Pepper’s Ghost’), which is corresponding with the time period of the J.C. Jacobsen we are portraying in the film where he receives an invitation from TEDxCopenhagen. So, it seemed ‘logical’ to beam Jacobsen via hologram from 1883 to 2017. Probably. Important detail, the speech on stage was live. So it wasn’t pre-recorded. Everything was real-time, which allowed good old Jacobsen to be interactive with the crowd. To visually recreate him, we turned to the Danish actor Kasper Leisner. Kasper has the same posture as Jacobsen and he profoundly studied Jacobsen’s way of walking, way of talking, way of being.”


The connectivity plan.

Eline Goethals, strategic & connectivity planner: “The TEDxCopenhagen event will be the kick off of a year-round full of content and inspiration around the person of Jacobsen and his life philosophy. His TEDx talk will be part of the official TEDxCopenhagen YouTube channel. All learnings will inspire an extensive online content plan, covering all Carlsberg markets and engaging people in discovering the TEDx Talk and adopting the ‘Probably-mindset’ themselves. Last but not least, all Carlsberg offices and employees will watch the TEDx talk live and give the most inspiring quotes a prominent place in the office and during talks at the coffeemachine too.”

Contact us
Elke Janssens Global Account Director, Happiness Brusssels
Elke Janssens Global Account Director, Happiness Brusssels