Beeline Telecoms Uses Rap to Reignite Teens' Passion for Reading

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Contrapunto, part of BBDO Russia, launched the campaign combining literature, rap and high tech to get younger generations to pay attention to books
Beeline Telecoms Uses Rap to Reignite Teens' Passion for Reading

Beeline, one of the biggest Russian telecom companies, feels responsible for the fact that teens spend hours on smartphones wasting time on meaningless entertainment and have virtually lost all interest in reading.

Using the idea of smartphones, Contrapunto tried to reignite their passion for books. This launched into an integrated campaign, combining rap, classical literature, high tech and street art.

To bring youngsters’ attention back to books, Contrapunto decided to use what teens are interested in, music. Rap, the most popular music genre in Russia, has been connected to literature from the outset. Once arriving in Russia, rap — traditionally a street genre from America — was given a literary spin and took on the role of distilling cultural evolution and heritage. It has always been more bookish and less ‘gangsta’. Favouring metaphors and references to the works of great writers over explicit language.

By unwrapping the links between rap and books, Beeline aims to reignite the passion for reading. The campaign kicked off on YouTube with the release of a music video.

The video, shot by the author of Contrapunto’s most iconic Russian rap videos Lado Kvataniya, features a group of street artists ZUKCLUB, whose artwork in the video later materialised on the streets.

Using machine learning, Contrapunto scanned the library of world literature and compared it to Russian rap tracks of the past 20 years. Hundreds of gigabytes of text data turned into 400 matches which were visualised on the project landing page. At the page, people can explore the quotes and reminiscences from books that inspired the musicians and see how it's all intertwined.

Having started with the music video, the campaign then followed up with outdoor activities, digital projects and a massive social media flash mob — keeping audiences’ interest for more than two months. The project’s hashtag became viral and is now used with pride to display reading on Instagram.

In the first month of the campaign, the video gained more than five million views on YouTube and 14 million on other social media platforms. On release day it reached the top five on YouTube, becoming the hottest topic nationwide.

Contrapunto got more than a million visitors on the landing page, with every third visitor sharing the page.

The campaign resonated with the target audience. Usually passive in response to brand campaigns, teens engaged massively, discussing and interpreting the video. It produced more than 14 million organic views with thousands of comments on social media.

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Categories: Music video, Short Films and Music Videos

BBDO Russia Group, 3 months ago