Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production
Tales of Transformation at Isobar Moscow
Advertising Agency
London, UK
LBB’s Adam Bennett speaks to Isobar’s Anastasia Zaramenskaya about digital, working with Greenpeace and changing the world

Moscow has always been one of Europe’s most culturally interesting capitals. Based in a country of deep traditions lies one of the most experimental creative cultures you can find, home to work as eye-catching and original as anything you’ll see.

And in the heart of that culture is where you’ll find Isobar Moscow. Facing similar challenges and opportunities as the rest of the industry globally (dealing with digital, an ever-closer relationship with clients) but dealing with them with a distinctive perspective.

To go behind the scenes, LBB’s Adam Bennett spoke to digital creator Anastasia Zaramenskaya. 

LBB> Where do you see Isobar Moscow right now, and how does that affect your work?

Anastasia> We are in a dynamic stage of transformation, one where we stop being just a communications agency and move towards a company that engages with user experience at all stages of the customer journey. 

For the creative department, this opens up more opportunities to touch people's hearts in a more exact and useful way. So, that’s why our minds are focused on creating awesome projects for brands that will be built on a creative combination of digital tools and new emotional experiences.

LBB> Is there a particular kind of brand that you'd be especially keen to work with in the near future?

Anastasia> We adore working with clients who understand the need for experience-led transformation most acutely. For example telecom companies, where digital has become a part of the product offering; FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), where digital begins to play the role of a fully-fledged sales channel; and the financial sector, which already now uses digital as the main channel for communication with clients.

And we’re also interested in a new type of business: digitally native services such as car sharing, marketplaces, food delivery or streaming platforms like Netflix. These tend to be brands who are most willing to experiment and do something exciting with digital! 

Also, it’s always fun working with all types of museums from classical to contemporary art, as well as the gaming sector from game producers to software.

LBB> Looking back at the work you've done as an agency, has there been a defining project that really took you forward?

Anastasia> A turning point for us was the work for Greenpeace Russia earlier this year, in terms of the process but also the results that have been achieved. Through this work we realised that to deliver an important message we could launch a useful project in 24 hours, without tonnes of mails, lengthy approvals or complicated technical solutions. This project changed us and our approach and we suppose the world too!

LBB> And how did that idea come about?

Anastasia> One summer in Russia, the whole country was going crazy about FaceApp - a viral app that allows you to see what you’ll look like when you’re old.

And that inspired one of our creatives, Diana Volkova. One lunchtime she ran into the office with the words, “it’s going to be a BANGER!”. 

Her idea was simple - to fit into this cultural phenomenon and draw attention to the problem of irreversible climate change. We decided to age the Earth and show using the examples of six famous places in Russia.

The decisive thing was that we decided to fake the App launch, which we called in line with the original, EarthApp. We aged every picture using the power of our talented designers.

You can check out the case study below:

LBB> What reaction did that campaign receive? 

Anastasia> We were surprised at how much support and positive feedback we received from people, bloggers, Greenpeace subscribers and all those who cared about the climate agenda around the world. Our campaign was broadcast on television and the global lifestyle media spread the word as well.

LBB> How do you see Isobar Moscow within the Isobar network? Is there anything that gives you guys unique characteristics? 

Anastasia> We work in a unique historical and social context: on the one hand, Russia is a huge country with strong established traditions. But on the other hand we are located in Moscow, one of the most progressive cities in the world, where many people support modern global values. This means that we are Europeans with unique thinking - creators who can set up pro-feminist projects in the language of Dostoevsky and use the upgraded matryoshka doll for it’s implementation. 

With all this baggage we fit into one of the world's strongest global networks, strengthening and enriching it with our unique perspectives. Collaboration and experience exchange are the main values of Isobar. We have a fantastic CCO, Ronald Ng, who inspires creators in every office. Also, twice a year the creative and tech specialists from across EMEA gather to work on real clients’ briefs at Isobar Academy walls.

LBB> What does Isobar Moscow keep in mind when hiring creatives?

Anastasia> We are committed to diversity and collaboration. And we are always looking for people with striking backgrounds, brave hearts, pure minds and desire to change the world with the power of creative use of digital.

LBB> What does the future hold for Isobar Moscow - where will you be in five years? 

Anastasia> It's hard to guess, but we're definitely gonna win in Cannes! And we want to get to a new level of relationship with our clients. As I say, our goal is to stop being simply an advertising agency and become real partners in crime. To be the backbone of the business, standing at the roots to inspire development and success from within.