The project's key objective is to present Ukraine as a brave and diverse country fighting for its own freedom and the freedom of the whole world. To show real Ukraine, where beauty lives alongside war, to the international audience of the Eurovision Song Contest, using its significant role in building ties between countries. Also, the project aims to remind people why last year's winner cannot host this year's contest.
*Ukraine, as the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 winner, could not host the contest due to Russia's full-scale invasion. The United Kingdom, whose representative took second place, hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine in Liverpool.
With an annual audience of over 200 million, Eurovision is one of the world's most popular and awaited music events. Founded after the Second World War as a project to deepen cooperation between the countries of post-war Europe, Eurovision has significantly contributed to developing partnerships, promoting shared values and cultural ties. In 2023, for the first time in the contest's history, all countries, not just those participating, could vote. It is difficult to overestimate the scale of the contest as a soft power tool. Although Eurovision is considered a European contest, it is watched live on all continents, and thousands of Euro fans from different countries come to attend the event.
*According to Suspilne Ukraine, Eurovision Song Contest 2023 was watched live by 162 million viewers and a record number of online users.
#OpenYourHeartForUkraine is the main slogan of the project, which united all components of the campaign — a series of digital activations and a physical interactive space. It calls on people to unite and open their hearts to learn about Ukraine beyond the context of the news. The heart of TVORCHI, as a recognisable symbol of Ukraine's representative with the song "Heart of Steel" at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, became a unifying visual sign for all campaign elements.
The Eurovision Song Contest was held from 5 to 13 May in Liverpool, UK, on behalf of Ukraine.
The project consisted of two key components:
🔵 an interactive space and photo zone on the Discover Ukraine alley within the Eurovision Village (a traditional Eurovision town for visitors to the Eurovision Song Contest, which hosts concerts, educational and entertainment events), which operated in Liverpool from 5 to 13 May;
🔵 a communication campaign on Ukraine.ua, the official channels of Ukraine, in cooperation with partners.
The interactive space is represented by a photo zone and an interactive installation within #UkrainianVillage.
The heart-shaped photo zone represents the symbol of Ukraine at this year's Eurovision Song Contest — the song "Heart of Steel" by TVORCHI. The illustration inside the heart features Ukrainian vytynanka — a unique type of folk art that tells the most important stories of wartime Ukraine. The blue elements signify a peaceful Ukraine, its beauty and culture, while the yellow represents wartime. The illustrations serve as a reminder of Russia's continuing war against Ukraine and explain what Ukrainians are fighting for. The word Freedom is stitched into the center as a reminder of the ongoing fight for the most important value for all Ukrainians and the world.
All visitors to the photo zone had the opportunity to open their hearts for Ukraine and look at vytynanka through a red filter. Using this filter, all the symbols of war - missiles, drones and weapons — disappear, and a peaceful Ukraine with its incredible beauty and rich culture emerges. Everyone could check how the filter works using small red glass hearts right next to the photo zone or apply a digital filter available on Ukraine.ua's Instagram page.
The interactive installation shows the diversity of Ukraine's culture and invites visitors to discover its true beauty. At the center of the installation is a steel map of a sovereign Ukraine as a symbol of what all Ukrainians are fighting for. The walls are decorated with vytynanka depicting storylines. Today, the world mostly sees Ukraine through the lens of war, overlooking the diversity of its culture. The main goal of the installation is to show that Ukraine is much more than just headlines and social media posts labelled as "sensitive content". The space is fitted with screens through which visitors can look in and see images of a peaceful and beautiful Ukraine contrasted with images of war. The world should not forget about the ongoing war.
All visitors were invited to pass a special quiz prepared by our team for Eurovision. It consisted of 10 questions filled with facts and stories about Ukraine: cuisine, language, industry, and music. It was also presented to Ukraine.ua audience on its Instagram page.
The interactive installation and photo zone will remain for further display in Liverpool, the United Kingdom.
The #OpenYourHeartForUkraine communication campaign combined several components to achieve two key goals: to encourage people to learn more about Ukraine by opening their hearts; to show the diversity of Ukraine through a broader context in addition to what foreigners are currently learning about Ukraine in the news and international media.
It consisted of five main components:
🔵 a series of publications on Ukrainian platforms Ukraine.ua
🔵 implementation of the campaign by partners (Ukrainian diplomatic missions)
🔵 collaboration with TVORCHI (video manifesto)
🔵 #TheUnityWave on Instagram (read about it in a separate case on our website)
🔵 a targeted campaign on Instagram and Facebook
The campaign included a variety of content — videos, explainers, activations, stories, AR-formats, streams from Liverpool. It helped both to talk about Ukraine in the context of this year's Eurovision Song Contest, the TVORCHI band and their song, and to emphasize the broad partnership between Ukraine and Great Britain. As a result, more than 120 publications have been published on Ukraine.ua channels, dozens of partners supported the campaign and more than 30 more joined #TheUnityWave, and in the countries of the Middle East and Africa, the content about Ukraine was positively received by the audience. The total reach of #OpenYourHeartForUkraine exceeded 41 million contacts, and the content received more than 570 thousand interactions.
On May 9, 2023, the central component of #OpenYourHeartForUkraine campaign was released. In a video manifesto created in partnership with TVORCHI, we called for unity and support for Ukraine, talking about the different emotions that a person can feel regardless of origin. The video series helped to get to know Ukraine more deeply — its diverse people, nature and architecture. The contrast between footage of peaceful Ukraine and the devastation during the war encouraged the audience to discover Ukraine beyond the news as well. The video manifesto was voiced by TVORCHI soloist Geffrey Kenny.
A targeted campaign using placements on Instagram and Facebook and a manifest video created in cooperation with TVORCHI focused on the English-speaking audience of the countries of the Global South — the Middle East (Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia) and Africa (Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa). Unlike publications on Ukraine.ua platforms, the targeted campaign went beyond the traditional Eurovision user groups. Using this year's changes in the voting system as an opportunity, the campaign called on residents of 6 countries in Africa and Asia to discover and support Ukraine, its culture and opportunities, the values that unite us. The coverage of the implemented campaign exceeded 25 million people, it also brought 1.5 million interactions with Ukraine.ua pages and almost 18 thousand reactions.
Top stories from partners
“While planning the Discover Ukraine location in the Heart of the Eurovision fan zone, the main goal was to create a diverse space with Ukrainian culture, traditions, food and, most important — senses. Ukraine.ua interactive installation gave that exact key message that made people stop, think and reflect on the physical Ukrainian heart of steel and what all Ukrainians are fighting for,” said Veronika Yasynska, Event Project Assistant Eurovision 2023.
Insights from the team
We are particularly grateful to
FOREIGN, COMMONWEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF UKRAINE
MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND INFORMATION POLICY OF UKRAINE
CREATIVE AGENCY BICKERSTAFF.734
EVENT AGENCY TOUCHÉ EVENT & DECOR
COLLEAGUES FROM PUBLIC BROADCASTING
THE ENTIRE TEAM OF TVORCHI
UKRAINIAN INCENTIVES LLC
VOLUNTEERS AND EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTED THIS PROJECT
BRAND UKRAINE — idea development, project management, fundraising, implementation.
Interactive installation and photo zone:
Bickerstaff.734 — creative idea and identity for the interactive installation and photo zone.
Touche' event & decor — implementation of spaces and decoration.
Bickerstaff.734. — creative idea and content.
Tigra agency — targeting.
The project was created with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and in partnership with Suspilne and TVORCHI.