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The Work That Made Me: Vladyslava Denys



Cheil Ukraine’s Creative Director shares the Levi's ads and Soviet kids’ shows that fuelled her creativity as well as the ground-breaking Samsung work that built her career

The Work That Made Me: Vladyslava Denys
Vladyslava Denys is flying the flag for Ukrainian creativity on the international advertising stage. She’s the President of the Art Directors Club of Ukraine and in 2022 was a One Show judge. In the course of her career she’s worked for brands like Coca Cola, LG, Nokia, Bayer, Nestle, Carlsberg, Kraft, Shell, and P&G – and leading the creative team at Cheil Ukraine she has worked on notable campaigns for Samsung.

Here Vladyslava breaks down the creative inspirations that have driven her career, as well as pieces of work that have emerged as career highlights.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

My childhood was spent in the Soviet Union. There were no ads or cool music videos - can you imagine? But we read a lot and watched movies. “The Adventures of Electronic” was popular children's science fiction TV miniseries in the 80th. The plot. A robot named Electronic escapes from professor’s laboratory. The robot looks exactly like Sergey, a boy from a magazine cover, who was chosen by professor as a model to construct Electronic. Of course, the robot meets its prototype. Sergey asks the robot to impersonate him – to go to school instead of him and even live in his home. His plan works, as no one can tell the difference between them. However, Sergey realizes that as the robot takes over "his" life. The popularity of this series among Soviet teenagers could hardly be overestimated. All teenage girls - including me - fell in love with these two boys played by twin actors. When I watch this film now - editing seems to me very slow, but the story is exciting.

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

Do you remember TVC "The Russian Wedding" for Smirnoff? It's one of the most strange and deep ads I have ever seen. It is iconic. I am sure this TVC has inspired millions of advertising professionals. 

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

"Odyssey" (2002) for Levi's Engineered Jeans, made by the great British director Jonathan Glazer. A “classic” commercial that I like even now. Freedom to move! I think, this is one of the most impressive and the sexiest advertising videos ever made! The cast, the music and sound design are the masterpieces!

My first professional project…

In 2003 at D’Arcy where I worked as a copywriter, together with a Creative Director Oleg Lapshin and Art Director Yuriy Motrych (Moka), we made this funny TV commercial “The Cashier” for chicken brand Nasha Ryaba. It still looks cool. The idea is simple. It was one of my first professional projects, and it was awarded at the Golden Drum advertising festival. 

The work that I’m proudest of…

“The Motherland”. It’s a social video for Samsung Gear VR

For Ukrainians, there is no more complex and controversial topic than Motherland. Some years ago in 2018, in Cheil Ukraine, together with Samsung, we managed to create a documentary project that hooked the souls of many thousands of Ukrainians, provoked discussions and is still my favorite project, which, in my opinion, affects the minds of people.

Motherland from CHEIL Ukraine on Vimeo.

We love our Motherland and run away from it. Running away, we want to return. But in order to return, you need to feel it, as if finding yourself again in childhood in your native land.

“Motherland” was a documentary experimental project about immigrants, about their hopes and fears, their nostalgy and memories. This project was about a man who immigrated to London more than twenty years ago and never returned to Ukraine. He became a musician, married a Japanese woman, and raised two children - while in all these years he had not seen his parents.

We found this guy, Oleg, with help of No Stars production studio. Oleg was a real documentary character and at the moment when we came to him in London he did not know a word about this project. He was not informed that before coming to London we visited his native Ukrainian village, met his parents whom Oleg did not see for decades, and filmed 360 video. 

His reaction to the context that we brought him to VR was real, and this was the juice of this project. The shooting took place in the simple conditions - there was no client on the trips, there was not a large number of people from the advertising agency. Due to a low budget and for the sake of truthfulness, the project was made by a small creative group. I will never forget the day when my art director Eugene brought me the finished editing - I cried of excitement and empathy! Every second of the video was in its place and made me think again about what Ukraine is! 

“Motherland” helped to develop innovative and human-centric image of Samsung in Ukraine. The outcome: more than 3 million views on Samsung Ukraine YouTube. Top 10 on Samsung Ukraine YouTube. Almost 2,5 million unique visitors watched video, according to Gemius. This documentary case proved to the viewers that technology was able to influence people’s consciousness and build real emotional connection with them. It was honest, and the script was written based on gut feeling. These are the ingrediencies of success, I think.

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

I will never stop admiring and being inspired by this incredible video for Diesel which was partly shot in Kyiv. The selection of the actors in this video is really cool and brave. 

The creative project that changed my career…

The film for Samsung AddWash has changed many things in my career. After we made it, I joined the Cheil Worldwide creative council, where I got a privilege to communicate with our Global Chief Creative Officer Malcolm Poynton and creative directors from different Cheil offices globally. I was invited to be a judge in amazing festivals – Clio, LIA Awards, The One Show, The Gerety Awards, The Crystal Awards. 

Samsung AddWash Miracle from CHEIL Ukraine on Vimeo.

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Any project that is done without a brief and clear aim, in which the deadline is “for yesterday”, in which there are already so many comments that no one understands how it all started and why we are doing this, any idea in which there is no idea is a shame.

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

Together with our creative team, we have completed the “Art The Frame “digital competition for photographers and artists organized by the Samsung. We had no idea how many participants to expect. We thought that maybe 100 people might be interested in the competition (after all, it was required to submit works made specifically for this competition). As a result, about 6,000 artists uploaded their works to the “Art The Frame’ site. I am proud that so many people in Ukraine are interested in creativity.

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Cheil Worldwide, Wed, 24 Nov 2021 17:00:00 GMT