Category G02. Low Budget / High Impact Campaign
Entrant DPG Moscow, RUSSIA
Idea Creation DPG Moscow, RUSSIA
Production 2 DPG Moscow, RUSSIA
Name Company Position
Alena Kremer DPG Managing Partner
Alexandra Shokina DPG Creative Director
Andrey Maltsev DPG Associate Creative Director
Ekaterina Savrasova DPG Associate Creative Director
Alexander Belanovsky DPG PR Director
Anastassia Urchukova DPG Head of Strategy
Oksana Shibanova DPG Client Service Director
Larissa Pshenichnikova DPG Project Manager
Tatiana Khina DPG Designer
Anastassia Zaitseva DPG Junior Copywriter
Irina Botvinieva DPG SMM Manager
Dmitry Shchavleev DPG Digital Artwork
Alexey Chernavsky DPG Animation/CG Designer
Ksenia Tavrina DPG Photographer
Alexandra Podporinova DPG Photoshoot Producer
Ilya Naishuller Versus Pictures Director
Ruben Adamyan Versus Pictures Producer
Ekaterina Kononenko Versus Pictures Producer
Andrey Krauzov Versus Pictures DOP
Dasha Charusha Versus Pictures Composer

Provide budget details

All people involved in this project (including celebrities) did it at no charge as voluntaries. Our costs were limited to video shooting equipment rent ($ 2000). Media budget: $ 0.

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

The goal of BeFriend campaign was saving the lives of stray dogs, who, on the eve of the World Cup, were massively caught and taken to overcrowded shelters – which literally meant for the majority of them to be doomed to euthanasia. We responded to the occasion and used this major sport event with the global audience to break through people’s emotional apathy. Our campaign was immediately taken up in the public square and earned media coverage in Russia, UK, US and Australia. Right during the championship, we helped a doubled number of dogs find home!


“Thousands of stray animals are being culled in preparation for the football tournament, activists say”. / The Moscow Times, April 2018 / “There are approximately two million strays in Russia’s 11 World Cup host cities and it has been estimated that local authorities will spend up to £119 million on catching, caging, sterilising and euthanising animals this year”. / The Guardian, May 2018 / “Russia 'slaughters HUNDREDS of stray dogs' close to World Cup venues” / Express, June 2018 / On the eve of the World Cup 2018 in Russia the lives of a large number of stay dogs taken to shelters got to be on the line. Together with NIKA, a charitable fund which works every day to save lives and find new owners for shelter dogs, we decided to come up with an instant response to the championship and save as many shelter dogs as possible.

Describe the creative idea

The objective was simple: to inspire more people save the lives of stray dogs by adopting them from shelters. But how would we break through people’s indifference? Make them feel the tragedy of every dog condemned to spend the rest of its life in the shelter? The answer? Dramatizing the sufferings of a homeless dog by elevating them to the level of human sufferings. And doing it exactly the moment when people’s emotions, sympathy and support were spilling over – during the World cup.

Describe the strategy

Catching the World Cup moment to save Russian shelter dogs. On the eve of the World Cup an increased number of dogs was taken to overflowing shelters and doomed to euthanazia. In response we turned the World Cup, our problem, into solution. Two weeks before the championship, when everybody’s eyes were fixed on Russia, we launched the BeFriend global campaign. We used the World Cup as a media lead to draw the attention of the global audience (including the Russian one) and encourage people to support not only their favourite teams but also shelter dogs. With $0 media budget, we involved celebrities who inspired each other and millions of their followers to support the project on The website and SM pages provided a personal presentation of dogs' profiles, inviting everyone to befriend a dog by adopting or sponsoring one or telling friends about the project.

Describe the execution

The campaign started with a heartfelt video shot by famous director Ilya Naishuller and starring well-known actor Sasha Pal. This story of a wandering dog, cornered by dog hunters to be taken to a shelter, went viral and inspired other stars to support the project on their social media and Moscow billboards. The campaign continued at the height of the championship with the #befriend challenge, featuring Russian celebrities as dogs in their photos. Actors, presenters, athletes, bloggers published their dog-inspired visuals to their social media profiles and encouraged everyone to help shelter dogs on the project's website. The website,, offered a variety of simple ways to help and presented profiles of around 150 dogs in World Cup host cities. All dogs listed their interests, including "swimming," "being faithful," " Soviet movies." Just like a Facebook for dogs – except you can become friends in real life.

List the results

This response campaign instantly gained national and global coverage by such media as BBC, FTBL, Buro 24/7, Cosmo, Harper’s Bazaar, Big Picture, OK! Tatler and many others. They described the project and provided a link to KEY NUMBERS: Online video views: 1 421 257 in 2 weeks Media impressions: 541 241 394 Social media interactions: 1 509 226 Media budget: $ 0 Earned media: $ 3 550 313 +200% increase number of adopted dogs (vs the same period last year). In a few weeks with a zero media budget we earned global media coverage and changed the future of more than 70 doomed dogs who found their homes and owners thanks to the BeFriend project.