Three weeks of war in Ukraine

— Ukrainian Creatives Fight Back With Information Campaigns and Practical Humanitarian Aid

Summing up the results of the third week of the war in Ukraine, we can once again say that a human being is the most adaptive and survivable creature on earth. Who would have thought that we, the people who yesterday complained about burnout, mental health problems, “severe deadlines” (if the project is given less than three weeks), will now be able to create projects under constant shelling? Without a permanent place of residence, or moving from city to city every few days. All this has become the reality of our agency.

This is when illusions have passed, fear and confusion have passed, as well, and clarity has come. The clarity that this is not a threat, not blackmail of Putin, but the clarity that the old man is ready to make bloody bets to achieve his imperial ambitions. Also, the clarity that the pseudo-powerful second strongest army in the world suffers more losses in two weeks of “special operations” than in all the years of the Syrian war. At the end of the second week of the war, there was confidence that we would win, which is confirmed by the huge number of losses of the Russian military.

This war is hard to imagine in the 21st century, but it takes place right in our homes and on our streets. This war will forever change the creative industry, not only in Ukraine, even if it seems that creatives in other countries are not affected. The European economy is too tightly connected for events to not affect the consequences for the brands represented in the European market, and, as a result, the creative agencies that run them. It is likely that, if not immediately, then gradually, the approach of brands to strategic planning will change.

Change is something you never expect. Imagine, yesterday you were developing campaigns to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere and fought for tolerance. Today you are sitting in the basement of a bomb shelter with your children. It does not fit well into the usual civilized European world. We are all used to the fact that the war is taking place somewhere far from our homes, somewhere in Syria, Africa, Iran. Today it is happening close to the borders of Poland, all over Ukraine, which now looks like Europe during the Second World War and where Russian troops are shelling the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

We are sure that we, Ukraine, will win. We will stand. Ukraine rallied as a nation and acted as a human shield for Europe. At the military registration and enlistment offices, there are queues of volunteers and most get refused. People want to, but cannot get into the army, because the military does not have time to train people without experience. Someone goes to volunteer, someone tries to contribute to this war effort with their profession. Our incredibly, as it turned out, persistent President called on everyone to take their front, to contribute where you are the best.

The creative industry in Ukraine is actively helping to fight on the information front. Many agencies in Ukraine have joined this information war. In less than two weeks, our agency creatives made six state projects to deter Russian aggression and promote humanitarian aid to the army and other social and military issues.

In parallel with this, our creatives weave nets, help in volunteer headquarters, and organize humanitarian aid to cities. Everyone united for the sake of helping each other, for the sake of victory.

Ukraine will survive, but the country’s economy will take time to recover. Already, all our clients have stopped their projects – during the war, people do not think about buying new sneakers, but about having water and food in the bomb shelter for the next day. The creative industry is now focused entirely on charitable projects in defense of the state, but these projects do not allow for paying salaries to creatives.

Our agency still has a small financial safety net to support the staff, but it is not known if it will last long enough in these conditions. Business in Ukraine will take time to recover from such a vicious attack, but after any sunset, there is always dawn. Quite a bit of time will pass and we will be able to brush off these events and you will again see our projects on the awards circuit.

Written By: Ilia Anufrienko, Founder & Creative Director at Bickerstaff.347, Kyiv


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