Dentsu brought together almost 90 people from across its global network to provide Ukraine with an extensive OOH campaign to promote the resistance of military invasion with zero budget: 22 countries, 2 billion impressions, $5.9 million of rate card value.
When the war in Ukraine started, the world gave it three days. But it gave the world a chance to see what Ukrainians are made of.
During the first weeks after the invasion, global support was paramount for Ukrainian’s survival and resilience. There was very little time to create a communication alarm to attract world attention and generate awareness about Ukraine’s fierce fight for freedom, justice, and human dignity among government authorities, businesses, NGOs and the general public watching the news unfold from all corners of the world.
While military forces were fighting on the frontline, information forces were looking for a simple but meaningful and effective tool, understandable for everyone in the West or East, for youth and adults, devoid of language or cultural barriers. This tool had to transform awareness into planetary support and involvement in a global giving movement.
Legal restrictions do not allow calls for military or economic aid to other countries to be placed in outdoor advertising. The inspiring call-to-action "Be Brave Like Ukraine" was clearly perceived by all parties as a call for aid, but cleverly avoided violation of any legal norms.
Using Ukraine’s national colours to resist military invasion.
It started with Ukraine issuing a simple call for help by encouraging the world to be “Be Brave Like Ukraine”.
The creative idea for the campaign was developed by Banda Agency together with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine at the request of the Office of the President and the Government of Ukraine. But the main challenge was to spread the idea outside of Ukraine as quickly as possible and crucially, with no media spend.
This is where the dentsu team stepped in. Carat Ukraine and Posterscope Ukraine appealed to the power of business networks of dentsu Global and initiated a global Out-Of-Home movement across media partners that resulted in the formation of a “volunteering camp”. Almost 90 dedicated dentsu employees and caring partners from OOH providers worked together to support and amplify Ukrainian bravery and inspire governments and the public to take action: donating to support Ukrainians, offering shelter to refugees, providing food & essential items, etc.
Due to dentsu and its partners’ commitment, the blue-yellow-colored campaign with the impactful slogan “Be Brave Like Ukraine” swept the world and reached more than 2 billion contacts.
The campaign had two waves (April – September 2022; October 2022 – March 2023), during which time the creative was placed across approximately 13,000 digital screens, covering 22 countries and more than 160 cities (in the USA, Canada, the UK, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, India, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Taiwan and Ukraine).
The billboards and screens were placed in high footfall locations for optimum attention – in central squares, near metro stations, at public transport stops and even reached iconic advertisement spaces such as Times Square in New York and the floating Billboat on the river in Stockholm. With zero budget, the “Be Brave Like Ukraine” campaign is by far the largest OOH campaign in the history of Ukraine.
All placements were provided by dentsu pro bono due to successful negotiations with the partners. Ratecard value of the project was more than $4.7 million USD (and $5.9 million USD in general with digital).
Total impressions for OOH campaign were 1.063 billion. But the OOH campaign also got people talking with word-of-mouth on social media reaching an additional audience of 1.004 billion in digital (only campaign hashtags counted). Combined, the overall number of impressions across digital, PR and OOH resulted in more than 2 billion.
The OOH campaign created an organic viral effect, providing large-scale coverage on social media. Ukrainian and world politicians, including President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the ministers and ambassadors, as well as influencers posted photos with the billboards and called on everyone to participate in the #BRAVEUKRAINE flashmob.
The advertising campaign sparked a viral movement – 200 Ukrainian brands changed their names to ‘Bravery’ and started to rebrand digital and physical products in retail stores with their new logo in support of the initiative. It created an opportunity to communicate directly (passing diplomatic channels) to the citizens of other countries that gave them a chance to show solidarity through donations or by sharing campaign messages.
From the letter to dentsu:
Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine: “On behalf of the Government of Ukraine, I would like to thank you for all support during this campaign. We thank you for the courage to join the project and provide with free media placement for the idea of Ukrainian Bravery. With your help, the project was seen all over the country. Thank you for spreading the truth about the bravest state in the world”.