Category B01. Use of TV & Other Screens
Entrant FRIENDS Moscow, RUSSIA
Idea Creation FRIENDS Moscow, RUSSIA
Production BAKEHOUSE Moscow, RUSSIA
Name Company Position
Denis Eliseev Friends Moscow Creative Director
Maxim Ponomarev Friends Moscow Creative Director
Dmitry Maseykin Friends Moscow sr. art director
Andrey Popov Friends Moscow sr. copywriter
Katerina Ponomarenko Friends Moscow Account Director
Anastasia Alekseeva Friends Moscow Senior Account Manager
Egor Kozhedub Friends Moscow Head of the Strategic Department
Maxim Korostelev Friends Moscow Head of Production Department
Kirill Nechesa Friends Moscow Digital producer
Nikolay Shigaev Friends Moscow senior designer

Why is this work relevant for Media?

Unconventional approach to traditional media is the essence of «This is YOTA ad» – the most straightforward and minimalistic campaign ever made on Russian conservative market. While other brands were trying to sell you a better life and endless benefits, showed celebrities, huge logos and silly call-to-actions, we made a campaign based on a single visual element and absurdly simple, straightforward copy.


YOTA is a challenger brand on the Russian telecom market, the smallest of the federal providers. The market is owned by «The Big Four» – largest players with an aggregated market share of over 95%. Positions on the market hardly shifted in recent years: services penetration was close to 200% of Russian population and big brands had a very consistent media presence – telco was the most aggressively advertised category in the country. YOTA had to find ways to increase its subscriber base, even though the audience had already been divided between the competitors with much bigger budgets. YOTA was twice less known than the category leaders, so the only way to succeed was by achieving a significant increase in brand awareness – this was the main objective of the campaign.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

Searching for disruptive solutions, we turned to data on how people perceived advertising in general and in telecom category. Research showed that advertising clutter was rising by 5% every year, as was number of people annoyed by it – 65% were so tired of ads they were making a deliberate effort to not watch them. Analyzing competitors’ communication, we discovered that not only people failed to see much difference between product offers, they refused to pay attention since any decent offer would be copied by other carriers. Telco ads were considered irritating and «in your face»; people remembered only faces of celebrities, but never the message. Data helped determine the winning strategy – redefining traditional approach to advertising, instead of emphasizing product. That inspired the campaign idea: to attract attention by using absurdly straightforward advertising that doesn’t tell people anything but the most important – they see a YOTA ad.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

YOTA targets people aged 16 to 30 as they are more open to new offers on the market, and often prefer brand image over pricing or functionality while choosing a product. Though the audience was young, the media research still showed that the best way to reach them and build massive awareness was via traditional media mix. So our approach was to use traditional media channels like no one on the Russian market ever did, and therefore to increase campaign effectiveness.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

The idea was that we should interpret the goal as literally as possible: if the ad is supposed to increase brand awareness, it shouldn’t contain anything but the brand. This reflected the principle that YOTA used when developed products – «nothing excessive». To increase absurdity and stress «nothing excessive» message, we used extremely minimalistic execution. The only visual element was the most recognizable brand attribute — cyan color. Copy stated the obvious – «This is a YOTA ad» – and played around with either channel, format or context of placement. Decision to not include any sound into video was instrumental to the effect on TV-viewers: advertising clutter is an endless stream of loud noises, and sudden silence is such an abrupt change that it involuntarily grabs attention.

List the results (30% of vote)

Growth rate of subscriber base increased rapidly (+38% after only two weeks), sales showed record figures for 1.5 years: +80% SIM orders online, +17% offline sales. Spontaneous brand awareness increased by 10%, reaching an all-time high of over 50% of Russian population. Advertising awareness grew 2.5 fold to record 25%. Significant contribution to overall success came from discussion provoked by campaign: brand mentions increased by 77%, with positive mentions growing by 82%. Share of conversation reached 9.7% — which means that the brand share in conversations (earned) was two times bigger than its share in media spendings (paid). Thanks to UGC, the additional organic reach was 8 million users plus over 150 articles in media with potential reach of 20 million people. These results show how the unconventional approach to media usage become a foundation for the most effective campaign in the history of YOTA.