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Branding the war – Marknadsföringskampanjerna som håller uppe kämparglöden i Ukraina

Kriget i Ukraina rasar vidare. I Krigsdagboken skriver kommunikations- och varumärkesstrategen Aleksandra Marchenko om de ukrainska varumärkena som hjälper hålla kämparglöden vid liv.

Publicerad: 16 mars 2023, 13:06

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Aleksandra Marchenko går igenom några ukrainska varumärkeskampanjer.

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It’s been a year since Russia started a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. If before people abroad could hardly map Ukraine or even less so identify it, now foreigners know the names of little towns and have no doubt that Ukraine is bravery. 

The evidence of Ukrainian resistance on the frontline and in everyday life made every single Ukrainian a true hero. Bravery became an idea or rather a state of things that explained Ukraine at the times of war and shaped the campaign Be Brave Like Ukraine

The stories from the media that proved this identity for us, Ukrainians, have a price. It costs lives of people we knew personally and places we were attached to. Bravery, that might seem as given by default, goes hand in hand with death, broken families, disrupted life stories and desperation. 

A few examples of how Ukrainian businesses and the Ukrainian government create powerful symbols that give Ukrainians strength to move towards victory.   

Ukrainian railway shows train schedule to occupied cities

The railway plays a life saving role in this war evacuating people, delivering weapons and humanitarian aid and also bringing people back home. I remember how in March 2022 I came to the train station in my hometown Dnipro and saw what I remembered from the movies about the war. A flood of people screaming, crying, pushing each other inside the trains… And a calm voice that usually announces the platformі for each train saying: ”Keep calm. Ukrainian railway has enough capacity to evacuate everyone”. 

Now at the train station in Kyiv one can see the schedule of actual trains but also the schedule of trains to the areas that will soon be liberated. Kherson was the first. The same schedule with the first train to Peremoha (Victory in Ukrainian) is printed on the sweatshirt that anyone can buy in Zalizna Kramnytsia (Iron shop, the word ”railway” in Ukrainian comes from the word ”iron” that railways are made of). This schedule is also what foreign politicians, actors, directors, journalists see when they arrive in Kyiv by train from Poland. Them or anyone can also buy a real train ticket to Victory or to one of the temporarily occupied cities, Mariupol, Simferopol, Donetsk. Leaving no doubt there soon will be a day when this train will actually take off from the planform in Kyiv.  


Salt from Soledar

A small town between Donetsk and Lughansk, known for almost 200 km of salt mines, is currently bombarded to ashes. Salt production stopped last year and the salt Ukrainian used daily disappeared from the shops. 

Salt från Soledar.

Salt already mined from Soledar returned to the shelves with new branding. Designers, Artemiy Gusev, saved the logo and changed the name of the product from Salt to Power (in Ukrainian ”Sil’” was changed into ”Mits”). 

The battle for Soledar continued for about half a year, and in January Ukrainian Armed Forces retreated. The batch of ”Power” was produced for 24.02.2023, one year of the war.  


Fortress Bakhmut

If earlier campaigns of Ukraine presented its resources, now they are mainly about Ukrainian people. What they are going through and how they manage. 

Fierce battles have been happening in Bakhmut for the past months, and the situation is worsening. A town known for its champaign, Bakhmut is now one of strategic places where the future development of the war is being decided.  

Ukrainian band ”Antitila” recorded a song ”Fortress Bakhmut” and filmed a video to it with real soldiers directly at the frontline. The song became a part of a bigger campaign and was commissioned by the President’s Office.

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The song says ”It is not a sin to be afraid – it is a sin to betray your people” and reminds that it’s normal people fighting on the frontline, they were not at all ready for the war and still withstand the hell to protect their land. 


Azovstal bracelet

And the most intimate one is this bracelet. Made of the last batch of the steel from Azovstal plant, the last fortress during the siege of Mariupol. Media reported daily how the Ukrainian army led by the ”Azov” battalion heroically withstand russian troops for about a month. Those soldiers are often referred to as ”made of steel”. 

Two volumes of bracelets were sold out in a few days. Recently Pope Francisc got this bracelet too. I wear it on the days when I am in need of support and have to project strength externally. 

Påven bär Azovstal-armbandet.

Funds from the bracelets and salt campaigns were donated to strengthen the Ukrainian defense. 

Aleksandra Marchenko
Kommunikations- och Branding-strateg på flykt från kriget i Ukraina.

Läs fler inlägg från Krigsdagboken här.

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