Board Games, Iconic Paintings and Graffiti: A Q-and-A with Leo Burnett Moscow
Leo Burnett Moscow shares their unique HumanKind method for creating impactful work.
Identifying human value, testing knowledge and evoking empathy¬–these are just some of the ways our Moscow office creates extraordinary concepts and timely creative solutions. Leo Burnett Moscow’s creative team discusses their new Hasbro Trivial Pursuit Hotel and why their work caters to the people.
1. Leo Burnett and Hasbro recently revealed the Trivial Pursuit Hotel—what a cool concept! Describe level of creative-client collaboration that goes into ideating and executing such a project.
Evgeny Shinyaev and Andrey Yarinich, creative directors, Trivial Pursuit Hotel
We really have an incredible client—they patiently saw this project through for more than six months as we prepared for launch. This had never been done before, so it took time, but they believed in us so much that they saw it through to the end. Now we enjoy sending each other links to media coverage about our hotel, from BBC to Cosmopolitan and many more.
2. The tagline for the hotel was “The first hotel to accept knowledge as payment.” Besides being on brand for Hasbro and the game itself, this feels like a timely concept—people talk a lot these days about the importance of being informed. Do you consider knowledge an important outcome for your campaigns? What do you hope people will take away from the agency’s work?
We’re particularly pleased that our idea went viral without exploiting some hot topic. The Trivial Pursuit Hotel would have worked 5 years ago or 5 years from now. Checking one’s knowledge without the help of a mobile phone—where all the world’s information is at your fingertips—is a challenge for everyone. As a result, the site is being visited by people from all over the globe.
3. This reminds us of other recent projects the Moscow office did—like the white sheets in Kyrgystan, representing the real stories of girls kidnapped to be brides, or #MemoryDonation that raised awareness and money for those struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. How does creativity help elevate awareness around issues of real human value?
Ilya Pryamilov, creative director, Koshogo project
Ala kachuu or bride kidnapping is a topic that is taboo in Kirghiz society, something people never discuss. As a result, the law turns a blind eye to this crime. What we did with the Koshogo project was speak about it out loud. We made the problem visible, showed real ala kachuu statistics. Now girls who have been abducted feel it’s easier to talk about their experience, and that it can keep people from getting away with [this crime] in the future.
Evgeny Podergin, copywriter, Memory Donation
Creativity is a key tool in bringing out empathy—the most important factor in increasing awareness of any human problem. We live in a very fast world, where people’s attention is drawn to hundreds of different messages every minute. When we were developing #memorydonation, our main goal was to make our message and mechanics so simple that even a person who never heard of Alzheimer’s could instantly get our point: if dementia takes away people’s memories, you can help them with your own memories. We put our bet on the younger generations who save thousands of memories in social networks, and time proved us right. Thus, we fostered the first generation of Russians who understand what dementia is and why it’s important to fight it.
4. Your work for the Rembrandt and Vermeer exhibition and that of the Samsung A7 smartphone are so different—the former, a more serious cinematic reflection and the latter, an upbeat, humorous video spot. Elaborate on how you maintain a consistent quality of creative work, with such diversity of product and approach.
Mikhail Kudashkin, executive creative director
There’s this quote of Leo Burnett that springs to mind: “The work of an advertising agency is warmly and immediately human.” Human—meaning centered on the human being, on people. So, to describe the approach of the Moscow office, the use of the word “people” is important. And by “people” I mean both the giving and the receiving parties, the creators and the audience.
The reason we manage to keep a consistent level of quality is the people who work at Leo: their diversity in terms of experience, age, tastes, and walks of life ensures the diversity of ideas we get on every brief—all what’s left to be done afterwards is to pick the very best. And when we’re selecting an idea and developing a campaign out of it, we always keep in mind the other part of the equation—the people we’re trying to reach. Not some marketing construct, but real people, with their foibles, their hopes and fears, whom we want to entertain, to enlighten (sometimes), but never to bore. That’s hardly a revolutionary approach, but it seems to work.
5. Leo Burnett has a strong creative culture worldwide, yet each office seems to have its own way of making a mark. Describe Leo Burnett Moscow’s unique position within the global network.
Globalization presents a challenge when it comes to the creative landscape, especially for means of expression other than film or print. And there’s also the question of craft. Take our work for the Rembrandt exhibition—it’s very strong, but most of the time we simply can’t afford the painstaking crafting that it required, and to a lesser extent, that we see in the film. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unlike the great Dutch masters, our work is not destined to last forever. It’s more like a graffiti. Done quickly, attention-grabbing and relevant, but also bound to disappear under new cultural layers. That’s what we intend to beat others at—and as true writers, we don’t think much of stencils!