This article is a reprint. You can read the original at Adweek.
By Chris Ariens
“CANNES, France — Regain Ukraine.
That was the cry from former Russian chess grandmaster-turned-human rights advocate Garry Kasparov Monday morning during the opening keynote at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
But Regain Ukraine is more than a clarion call from Kasparov. It is a brand launched in partnership with Kasparov’s Renew Democracy Initiative and Edelman to keep the marketing community’s focus on the war.
The goal, said Edelman CEO Richard Edelman in his opening remarks, is, among other things “to help recruit women who are left at home and invest in a production hub in Kiev called Freedom Center.” The work on that is already underway in partnership with Publicis.
Kasparov was in this very theater in 1988 when he strode the stage playing chess against 10 different countries, via satellite. “This was the pre-internet era,” he said. He used a chess analogy to implore the creative community not to look away from Ukraine.
“We have freedom, life and love versus tyranny and hatred,” he said, adding, “this is like chess. But unlike chess, there is no draw, there is no compromise.”
Kasparov shared a recorded message from Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba who also had a message for marketers in the room: “Russia’s propaganda is strong. Your creativity is much stronger,” Kuleba said. “Ukraine is a brand of bravery, courage and of the future. Join this brand. Stand with us,” Kuleba said.
“It’s important that the advertising industry keep focused on Ukraine,” said Kasparov during a smaller event for a handful of brands and a few journalists. “It’s a front line of a never-ending battle between freedom and tyranny.”
Born in Azerbaijan, then a part of the former Soviet Union, Kasparov has been living in exile and last month was declared a “foreign agent” by Russia’s Justice Ministry. He said he’s been a critic of Putin since writing a January, 2001 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. “How did I know? I didn’t have a magic ball. All I did, was I listened.””