New platform e!Creative, under ElloWorks at Talenthouse, has established itself as a source of work for Ukrainian creatives and made a call for briefs from agencies and brand partners.
The hub was developed after the war in Ukraine paused local demand for creative work.
After seeing the impact of the Russian invasion on the industry, Ingmar Janson, former managing director at Scholz & Friends International, sought a solution and approached talent platform Talenthouse about facilitating a hub for creatives.
He enlisted the help of friend and former colleague Nadia Skrynnyk, creative director at AdBakers Ukraine, to spread the word about e!Creative. From Talenthouse, Liz von Loewen, head of operations, also helped lead the project.
Launched on 21 March, the platform swiftly gained traction and now has more than 2,000 Ukrainian creatives ready to write, illustrate, and create at the drop of a hat.
All it needs now are the creative briefs to match.
Skrynnyk was previously based in Kyiv, but has temporarily relocated to Eastern Ukraine.
A creative director, she said she was “lucky” that her agency had international clients, but by the time Janson approached her, she hadn’t seen a brief from a local client in over a week: “Just like that. Boom, no work.”
Not only that, but in Ukraine, she said it could take 30-90 days to see payment for completed work.
Still, she emphasised that the platform should not be seen as a charity, but rather a hub for potential clients to employ people placed in a difficult situation.
She said: “What people shouldn’t do, is they shouldn’t pity us, because we can take care of ourselves. We need our freedom now, so we can win and earn client market shares.
“Just look at our portfolio, give us a chance and challenge us. That's all we want.”
Speaking to Campaign, Maya Bogle, Talenthouse co-founder, implored agencies and potential clients to add briefs to the platform and said: “A lot of creators currently in Ukraine want to actually still work, they want the opportunity to make money, to do something really positive, and not to be seen as a victim.”
Talenthouse will be waiving its fees for this project, with its economic model traditionally built on charging brands for access to their creative network of 3.5 million creatives, with 14 million members in total.
Although initiatives to give Ukrainian workers jobs elsewhere are well-intentioned, Bogle said they could have unintended effects.
She said: “That creates a brain drain. We very much want to focus people's attention on the fact that this is an incredibly valuable community.
“Let's give them the opportunity to work where they are, to give them those briefs, to give them that recognition value, and to actually ensure that they can help to rebuild that Ukrainian economy rather than just decimating its creative talent.”
Talenthouse previously embarked on a similar project during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, waiving its fees and producing a content library of approximately 5,000 pieces of creative work to disseminate accurate information.
Available to the public, its work was used by a number of different organisations and outlets, from divisions in the UN to local councils and personal blogs.
Bogle said it had prepared them well to undertake the task of e!Creative and she was confident that the ad industry would lean in.
She said: “Creativity has got the power to inform, to unite, to shock, to provoke, and to actually mobilise wider communities into taking positive action.
“[The UN project] allowed us to say, what can we do now? We've got the community in Ukraine, a global community. Let's just see how we can use creativity and get people to think about kindness and supporting and helping people.”