Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine when the Russian military entered the capital city of Kyiv and 2 other regions.
As the conflict continues to escalate, the damage is palpable:
- 8,006* confirmed civilian deaths in Ukraine (although not all causalities have been found yet)
- More than 200,000** military casualties from Russia and Ukraine (estimate)
- Nearly 8 million refugees*** displaced from the war
What has piqued our curiosity here at Billboard Media is the use of billboards to campaign certain causes and even aid military strategy!
During the soviet era, advertising was very restricted, with most media sources being used to print pro-state content. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine embraced many advertising mediums, but one was king…
These types of campaigns have always been integral to the political landscape of Ukraine, be it a general election or a message of support to civilians living under military conflict.
To this day, billboards remain one of the most used forms of advertising in the country*.
Here are 3 examples of the creative use of out-of-home campaigns
- All roads lead to “The Hague”
To confuse the advancing Russian Army, protesters covered up city names with “The Hague”, the home of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Are we condoning that people deface billboards and road signs? Of course not!
However, this speaks to the power of out-of-home media and the reliance we, as road users have on it.
2. “The whole world is with Ukraine”
This billboard was erected on Kyiv Victory Avenue, more to inspire those remaining in Ukraine in the midst of the attack, as well as an affront to Russia’s army who were expected to take that route into the capital.
On a more optimistic note, one year on, the construction company Vidvazhnykh Hrupa, or “Brave Society” in English, created a series of billboards thanking various world leaders for their support, in the city of Irpin.
Gratitude was expressed to U.S. President Joe Biden, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Wherever you might stand on the matter, this shows the diverse messages one can use on a billboard and the main reason out-of-home is chosen of other mediums: reaching the widest audience possible.
*Confirmed by UN human rights office
***Source: Doctors without borders