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Your Shot: How BBDO Moscow Made a Record Label for Birdsong


ECD Alexey Fedorov talks LBB’s Adam Bennett through the WWF campaign to save Russia’s Endangered Birds

Your Shot: How BBDO Moscow Made a Record Label for Birdsong

With the global public more attuned than ever to the climate and ecological crisis, there’s a deluge of amazing creative work drawing attention to the issue. That’s a good thing, but it does mean that cutting through with an original idea has become quite a challenge.

However, BBDO Moscow have managed to do just that. When the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) became concerned by the dwindling number of birds in Russia following several environmental disasters, the agency took on the challenge of raising both funds and awareness for the issue. The result is a totally unique rap song, backed by the recording of around fifty endangered species of birds. 

It’s also supported by a striking animated video, the popularity of which in Russia has led to the creation of the first ever record label for music made using recorded birdsong. 

To find out more about the campaign, LBB’s Adam Bennett spoke to BBDO Moscow executive creative director Alexey Fedorov.

LBB> Where did the idea for this campaign come from, and how did it come to happen?

Alexey> In recent years the ecological situation in Russia has become a lot worse, with forest fires in Siberia and the Far East of Russia. Birds are a victim of these environmental disasters that people rarely stop to think about. Traditionally, there is an extremely low level of involvement in charity projects in Russia and to attract people's attention there needs to be a strong hook for them. So, we came up with the idea that birds’ voices could be used as the base for a song. This way birds serve as self-sufficient artists and may "earn money" from streaming to save themselves. We decided to start with the one song, but then we realised that the more songs with birds’ samples that we could create. So, leading on from that, we created a non-profit record label that everyone who composes a good song with birds’ samples can join. 

LBB> The animation is fantastic - did you always have that style in mind, or did it come later in the process?

Alexey> An idea to use different styles came at the beginning of the production process when we thought about the best way to communicate our idea. Our chosen approach provides an opportunity not only to tell people about the problem but also to build an emotional connection with viewers.

LBB> What were your main aims and ambitions going into the campaign?

Alexey> The main aim was always to help save birds. Choosing to do a campaign with emphasis on birds’ voices helps to show the problem in an engaging way and helps the WWF to get the money they need to make a difference. 

LBB> What kind of reception has the campaign received?

Alexey> Scanning the YouTube comments, it seems the video (particularly the ending) has made people quite emotional! Their reaction is the best evidence that we made something very important. Moreover, all of the most influential media have written about us - it proves that the problem is now a part of our national conversation. Indeed, we even started producing merchandise - all the revenue from which will also go to WWF.  And it sold like hotcakes! We’re even thinking about making additional drops.

LBB> Where did the idea for a rap come from?

Alexey> We didn't have a plan and we didn't brief our label major Ivan Dorn about which style the song should be. Actually, he is a very talented artist who loves experiments so we just decided to rely on his gut feeling and actually we are totally convinced that was the right way to go! We couldn’t be happier with the track.

LBB> You used real bird sounds for the song - but how did you go about choosing which birds to record?

Alexey> The WWF provided us with more than 50 voices of birds that suffer from ecological disasters and need some kind of help. Pretty much all of those voices were modified into music samples and became a base of Ivan Dorn's track. 

LBB> What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Alexey> The most challenging aspect of the whole project was to coordinate alongside 10 partners in the framework of a non-profit project. We have the WWF, Universal Music Group, local music streaming service Yandex.Music and several production companies. But from the very start we understood that great things are possible with great effort and only a big collaboration can create something very prominent. 

Alexey Fedorov is executive creative director at BBDO Moscow 

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Categories: Corporate, Social and PSAs, Environment, Thu, 17 Oct 2019 15:38:14 GMT