By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

March 11, 2022 | 4 min read

The Drum has relaunched The Drum Show with a multipart series on the information war around Ukraine. You can watch our full exploration of the Ukraine comms conflict here.

The Drum co-founder Gordon Young was joined in-studio by journalists Hannah Bowler and Chris Sutcliffe to discuss the rapid escalation of brand responses to Russia, both through overt and tacit sanctions and exits. Rob Blackie, former Liberal Democrat candidate for the London mayoralty and digital consultant, talked us through his crowdfunded campaign to use those complex adtech channels to disseminate legitimate information, in an attempt to counter disinformation.

Most importantly we hear from members of the media and marketing industry who have been directly impacted by the war. Iryna Begma of award-winning Ukrainian agency Setapp and Marina Chernyavskaya, creative group head at Bickerstaff, join The Drum editor Cameron Clark to discuss how best the media and marketing industry can aid our colleagues in Ukraine.

Chernyavskaya explains how part of the work of her team is disseminating accurate information to Russians, using the techniques of online communication learned prior to the war:

“We have some videos where [Russian soldiers] say that they were lied to, that they were not about to make war in Ukraine, they were not about to kill Ukrainian people. But as far as we know, in Russia, this content is totally blocked. So we will make collaboration with our partners who are good at targeting and… send it to directly to some people whose contacts we've got from hackers’ attacks, they've got the context of the families of Russian soldiers.

“The communication to the Russian Federation, with the aggressor country is pretty hard, because everything we do in Ukraine is immediately blocked - even the webpage where Ukrainian forces post photos of Russian soldiers in Ukraine for their parents to find them and to identify them. This web page was blocked in Russia on the first day of its existence. So we have some difficulties, obviously, but we are still working like this.”

Begma elaborates, stating: “Currently, we are gathering funds to prevent a humanitarian crisis. And maybe this is the first thing the community can do is to help raise funds and organize humanitarian aid for Ukrainians and people in need.

“Our multiple engineers have created an app to see which apps have links to Russia in order to protect user data. We have also created a shortcut that helps to save battery power on iPhones, which is critical right now. We have been also trying to tell the truth through our applications because we have many users from brush Russia and Belarus. But after two days of our massive approach to the Russian audience [they] blocked our blog post, meaning that we were doing at least something, something right to let the Russians know the truth.”

The full interview with Chernyavskaya and Begma will be available as a standalone feature following the broadcast of The Drum Show.


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