Ilia Anufrienko
Aug 4, 2022

Winning a Cannes Lions award as a Ukrainian agency in 2022

Kyiv-based Bickerstaff.734 has been forced to search for opportunities abroad as the war against Russia continues. In the wake of the agency winning its first Cannes Lions, its creative director explains what the award means.

'The island of a mystery': Bickerstaff won bronze Cannes Lion for graphic rebrand of Khortytsia
'The island of a mystery': Bickerstaff won bronze Cannes Lion for graphic rebrand of Khortytsia

We have a philosophy: to save the inner state of homelessness. It is stereotypically considered that homeless people are bad, but we believe that in creative ways this is good.

Because creativity is always about new things, every day you have a new house, you must be in search of new challenges. So, all our Cannes Lions are yesterday's Lions, simply because they were not today.

Despite our young age (we were founded two years ago) Bickerstaff.734 has won many awards, including a bronze in the design category, at this year's Cannes Lions for our work rebranding the island of Khortytsia. We recognise this accomplishment as just a side effect of producing good work.

Yet, while it's nice to win prestigious awards like Cannes Lions, our creative team is aware that awards can be dangerous if winning them is the sole purpose of your work. 

I know a lot of people who have become addicted to success, who fear taking risks, in case they make a "mistake". Our goal is to find new solutions and sometimes the search is unsuccessful. But, this is OK. 

No matter how strange it may sound, we love discomfort. It forces us to look for new ways to communicate; to find more inventive ways beyond just another video with a person happily consuming a product alongside a white-toothed labrador. 

A great creative once said: "You're only as good as your latest work." That's why we always try to evaluate ourselves not by our past merits, or even our recent ones, but by the projects we are working on, today. 

Like our latest project for the Ukrainian dairy product brand, Galychyna.

We replaced the brand name, which is named after a Ukrainian region where the brand originates, with the names of every region in the country. The rebrand supported all 14 Ukrainian regions, including those occupied by Russia, to show we are united.Prior to 2022, I had already faced Russian aggression. During the 2014 Ukraine crisis, while trying to save my mother, I sat under bombs in a shelter for almost a month. When I managed to find a way out of the surrounded city, to reach the free Ukrainian territory, I was struck by how calm everything was. People did not notice anything. They just ate ice cream and drank water, unaware how precious these things are. This philosophy helped us to make an agency unlike any other in Ukraine, and led us to take third place in the creativity rating of 2021 and take first place in this year's rating

But now, when business in Ukraine has stopped, this is not enough for us and we are forced to look for opportunities in foreign markets to save ourselves, our approach and our philosophy. We have a philosophy: to save the inner state of homelessness. It is stereotypically considered that homeless people are bad, but we believe that in creative ways this is good.

Because creativity is always about new things, every day you have a new house, you must be in search of new challenges. So, all our Cannes Lions are yesterday's Lions, simply because they were not today.

Despite our young age (we were founded two years ago) Bickerstaff.734 has won many awards, including a bronze in the design category, at this year's Cannes Lions for our work rebranding the island of Khortytsia. We recognise this accomplishment as just a side effect of producing good work.

Yet, while it's nice to win prestigious awards like Cannes Lions, our creative team is aware that awards can be dangerous if winning them is the sole purpose of your work. 

I know a lot of people who have become addicted to success, who fear taking risks, in case they make a "mistake". Our goal is to find new solutions and sometimes the search is unsuccessful. But, this is OK. 

The agency viewing a draft animatic for a client, in which the agency team plays roles

No matter how strange it may sound, we love discomfort. It forces us to look for new ways to communicate; to find more inventive ways beyond just another video with a person happily consuming a product alongside a white-toothed labrador. 

A great creative once said: "You're only as good as your latest work." That's why we always try to evaluate ourselves not by our past merits, or even our recent ones, but by the projects we are working on, today. 

Like our latest project for the Ukrainian dairy product brand, Galychyna.

We replaced the brand name, which is named after a Ukrainian region where the brand originates, with the names of every region in the country. The rebrand supported all 14 Ukrainian regions, including those occupied by Russia, to show we are united.

Prior to 2022, I had already faced Russian aggression. During the 2014 Ukraine crisis, while trying to save my mother, I sat under bombs in a shelter for almost a month. When I managed to find a way out of the surrounded city, to reach the free Ukrainian territory, I was struck by how calm everything was. People did not notice anything. They just ate ice cream and drank water, unaware how precious these things are. 

The team is celebrating some kind of award or some kind of loss - everything is celebrated in the agency, both victories and defeats

This philosophy helped us to make an agency unlike any other in Ukraine, and led us to take third place in the creativity rating of 2021 and take first place in this year's rating

But now, when business in Ukraine has stopped, this is not enough for us and we are forced to look for opportunities in foreign markets to save ourselves, our approach and our philosophy. 

After the start of the war

In Ukraine, we already have an excellent reputation and market trust, but the trust of worldwide brands still needs to be earned, because no one wants to trust just one of the agencies, no matter how positively and sympathetically we treat Ukraine. And we understand this. 

Therefore what used to be a pleasant “side effect” for us, we now hope it will serve as an independent assessment of our creativity, which will give credibility to the market and motivate us to try to look at business problems with the help of Ukrainian creativity.


Ilia Anufrienko is creative director at Bickerstaff.734.

Source:
Campaign US

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