Despite the explosive growth of the BRIC economies, it's rare that we see much strong digital work coming out of Russia, but over the past week we've seen a rash of work that shows local creativity flowering aimed at increasingly tech-savvy Russian consumers.
Catering to the newly international travel and fashion aspirations of Russian middle class women, L'Oréal-owned makeup brand Maybelline NY is promoting its new mascara with an online contest that gives Russian women a chance to star in a Times Square digital billboard.
To participate in the Win New York At A Glance, agency Grape, Moscow asked Russian women to submit photos via Facebook or through Russian social network Vkontake. They can also increase their chances of winning by watching a video from Maybelline Russia's official makeup artist with tips on makeup, lighting and posing for the camera.
The lucky women who earn the most social media votes will have their images projected on a Times Square billboard with the campaign website featuring a 24-hour live stream of the New York billboard. The overall winner meanwhile will get flown to New York for a chance to show off their good looks in the flesh.
Another multinational brand building in the local market is IKEA, which has launched an interactive web experience called In The Kitchen, which lets people explore an entertaining family story taking place in their kitchen from a variety of different points of view.
The campaign, created by agency Instinct BBDO, Moscow and digital production company B Reel, enables people to explore the story from any viewpoint they like, seamlessly switching views without leaving the narrative. They can choose from characters including a dog, a fly, a fish and people such as Max, the slightly lecherous onlooker, and a barman. People can play the guitar and mix a cocktail, among other activities.
IKEA said that 540,759 kitchen solutions had been uncovered - such as steam cooking, smoothing edges off furniture and the spin feature of their storage solutions - as part of people's exploration of the story.
Taking an innovative approach to promoting the troublesome subject of blood donation, Russia's Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) turned to that most vilified area of the internet - the torrenting community - to reach its target audience.
Russian agency SmartNewSolutions realised that donating blood actually shared a lot of common features with torrenting online files, such as sharing freely between peers and receiving the end product in segments from a number of donors.
The BTS therefore created a free short film called Donor Sapiens about blood donation and announced it on Russia's main video review site which people could only download via torrent.
At the start of the film, a message popped up informing viewers that they were now torrent donors as other people were able to download segments of the film remotely from the viewer's computer - hoping that the principle of sharing would carry over into blood donations.
BTS promoted Donor Sapiens in much the same way as a regular film, with a trailer, ads on appropriate entertainment sites, a microsite and social media outreach.
In terms of results, the organisation claims that 100 links to the film were shared within the first hour following the campaign's launch, 1,000 people downloaded the film within the first three days - and many of the users 'openly stated their intention to go to a blood transfusion station immediately'.
Russia's increasingly affluent middle and upper class represent an important growth area for international companies, with average disposable income showing a steady rise over the past ten years (via Forbes
). At the same time, internet penetration is around 50% in Moscow and St Petersburg; in rural areas that drops to just 20%. However Google Russia is saying that with new infrastructure being put in place, that will go up to 80% within four years. (via WARC
Mirroring the kind of growth already witnessed in other markets such as the US and UK, the internet holds huge potential as a channel for marketing: a Boston Consulting Group report from May last year predicted ad spend online would grow 30% a year by 2015. That means we can expect to see more creative executions from the country in the digital space, using innovative social media, web and mobile-based campaigns as brands jostle for consumers' attention and spare cash.
These stories originally appeared on Contagious Feed. Contagious Feed is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious Feed contact:email@example.com