On the second day of Russia’s aggressive attack, we actively participated in volunteer activities and implemented several projects. Here is a story about one of them, which won the EFFIE Awards Europe.
We were all scared and disoriented at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. But it did not last long. On the second day of Russia’s aggressive attack, we actively participated in volunteer activities and implemented several projects to convey the truth about the war.
One of them was the “All around Russian world” project, which we implemented in collaboration with bickerstaff.
At the beginning of the invasion, it was essential to give the invasion maximal publicity, both for the foreign audience and the Russians themselves. At that time, we all believed that if we showed the Russians what was happening in Ukraine and what crimes against humanity the Russian army committed, the Russians would rise against these atrocities and stop their criminal power. Russian propaganda presented the attack on Ukraine as the destruction of military potential when in reality, the Russians were shelling civilian residential buildings, hospitals, children’s institutions, and civilian infrastructure objects, committing genocide.
Therefore, we decided to show what “russian world” really is – a Russian propaganda cliché actively reproduced in Russian mass propaganda as a construct that crosses the borders of countries and legitimizes the russian invasion of the neighboring countries with a Russian-speaking population.
Almost from the first days of the full-scale invasion of Russia, most of the world’s air carriers stopped operating in Russia, so Russians became more limited in their global movements. The only thing that was available to them was “russian world.”
We decided to offer a tour of the actual “sights of the russian world.” For this purpose, we have developed a site similar to popular accommodation search services such as Airbnb. Among the offers on the website, we showed photos of apartments destroyed by Russian troops and rocket attacks. The descriptions of the proposals were also stylized according to the reality of the “russian world.”
In addition to creating a site, our task was also to reach the maximum audience to convey our idea. But if it did not create difficulties for the Western audience, it was much more difficult to convey our message to the Russian audience. Almost from the start of the full-scale invasion, all key advertising platforms (such as Google and Meta) were blocked in Russia. Therefore, we faced the task of finding ways to deliver our communication. Such a solution was placing our advertising on many decentralized teaser and banner networks that provided coverage to the Russian audience. Most of them had operational facilities outside the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. In this way, the Russians could not physically block all of them. And while each of these networks individually did not have a reach that could be compared to the reach of Google or Meta, due to the number of these networks, we got a reach of over 18 million users.
The banners we used in advertising offered to travel for Russians and talked about the charms of the “russian world.” And after clicking the banner ads, you could look at the sights of the “russian world” – the destroyed houses of civilians, which were by no means a military threat to russia.
After the launch of the project, many well-known international mass media wrote about it, which further strengthened the effectiveness of the campaign.
In autumn 2022, the project was presented at the Effie Awards Europe festival. According to the festival results, the project received a bronze award for its effectiveness in conveying the truth about the Russian invasion.
There is a lot of work ahead. We keep fighting. Stand with Ukraine.
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