UNITED24 launches ‘tactical travel’ campaign to raise awareness of Ukraine conflict

UNITED24 launches ‘tactical travel’ campaign to raise awareness of Ukraine conflict
The Media Plan

UNITED24, the global aid initiative set up by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy, has launched a nationwide out-of-home (OOH) campaign to raise awareness of the continued conflict in Ukraine.

Independent media agency Bountiful Cow partnered with outdoor media owner Clear Channel and creative street specialist JACK (part of BUILDHOLLYWOOD) to strategically place posters for the campaign along commuter routes and city centres across the UK where travel advertising would typically appear.

Both outdoor companies donated inventory pro-bono with JACK running the campaign posters in nine cities across the UK for two weeks until 5 February, while Clear Channel provided roadside digital screens along high traffic arterial routes for one week.

The campaign’s creative and media strategy “works in unison” as it takes the style of vintage travel posters to depict three Ukrainian cities; Kyiv, Mariupol and Kharkiv, inviting visitors to “Come To Ukraine: There’s So Much To Do”, against a war-torn backdrop.

Rather than being a typical travel ad inviting tourists to visit the country, the posters “reveal an urgent appeal for support”.

There is also a direct response mechanism with QR codes for passers-by to make charitable donations to UNITED24. Funds from the campaign will be transferred to official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the country’s most pressing needs.

The volume and value of donations made through the QR codes will be a measure of the success of the campaign, along with UNITED24 search volume data.

The aim of the campaign is to make people do a double-take as they are drawn in by a travel ad in the January period when many people are in the mindset of looking for holiday inspiration as the days are short, the weather is cold and the Christmas break is over.

Yaroslava Gres, UNITED24 platform coordinator said of the campaign: “Ukraine used to be a popular tourist attraction in the middle of Europe. Millions of people from all over the world came to the cities depicted on these posters to enjoy breath-taking landscapes, authentic architecture, and meet welcoming residents. Russian invasion changed that. In Kharkiv Oblast and its main city, depicted on one of these posters, the terrorist state has destroyed over 11,397 sites, including private and residential buildings.

“Projects like this remind people worldwide that there is plenty to fight for here. We are infinitely grateful to everyone who supports us in this ordeal via our fundraising platform. Right now, we ask help from everyone outside of Ukraine to rebuild our state. After we win, we will once again be that welcoming country everyone came to visit before”.

This OOH activation follows on from print campaign that appeared in the second half of December in newspapers and high-end travel literature including Wanderlust and the Evening Standard, which similarly reimagined a classic travel ad to remind readers that it has never been more important to come to Ukraine’s aid by donating to help with medical supplies, rebuilding cities, defence, and demining.

Adam Foley, CEO at Bountiful Cow, said: “We’re proud to have played a part in this inter-agency effort to keep the conflict in Ukraine front of mind and we’re so grateful to our media partners. The tourist board style artwork was inspired and by reaching people during the January holiday booking season was a powerful – and jarring – way to bring it to life.”

He added: “Niche targeting would be detrimental to the campaign so, we landed on a very broad audience maintaining awareness of the conflict amongst the British public as a whole. As the most broadcast of all channels OOH was perfect as our lead medium.”

Creative was by PABLO in partnership with Ukrainian illustrator Antonio Firsik.

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