2020 Brand Experience & Activation


Short List
Category B01. Use of Ambient Media: Small Scale
Entrant ACTION Moscow, RUSSIA
Idea Creation ACTION Moscow, RUSSIA
Name Company Position
Nikita Petrusev Action Idea & Strategy Creator
Artem Bryksin Action Art Direction
Ekaterina Volkova Action Copywriting
Alexander Zarshchikov Filmway Production Producer
Anastasiia Zarshchikova Filmway Production Producer
Anastasiia Tulumdzhan Filmway Production Line Producer
Anton Fomin Filmway Production Producer
Ilia Toniia Filmway Production Producer
Elena Petruseva Action PR Director

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

The key point of N23 project was a strong emotional experience that helped us deliver a powerful message. With this activation, we have achieved great changes in Russian political agenda. In the country where government restoring the cult of Joseph Stalin, we have managed to prevent the living symbol of Stalin’s terror – The House of Executions – from becoming just another perfume boutique in the center of Moscow. There will be a memorial complex for victims of political repressions now.


Today, Russian government is restoring the cult of Stalin. According to a pan-national survey, 46% of Russians aged 18-24 have never heard about mass repressions in the USSR. And 70% of responders "rather positively" rate Stalin's role in the country's history. One of the symbols of Stalinist terror — “The House of executions” at Nikolskaya, 23 (in which 31,456 people were shot dead) has been sold to a businessman on familiar terms with the government. He decided to open there a perfume boutique in 2019. Most Russians did not know anything about that because government tried to do everything quietly. When “Novaya Gazeta” - the leading oppositional newspaper - has learned about the fact, it decided to declare about this terrible intention as loud as possible. Our main goal was to change the future of the house, create public awareness and call to boycott any commercial use of the building.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Our idea was to create a provocative symbol of today's blasphemous reality, when a luxury perfume boutique is to be opened in a building where 31,456 people were shot and more people sentenced to death. The project reveals this terrifying contrast: perfume N23 with the smell of gunpowder. On the one hand, a premium packaging, on the other hand, a bed of soil from the Kommunarka execution yard inside. And a vial on the soil: a real vintage Soviet shell case filled with N23 perfume. A fragrance based on real events. With the smell of gunpowder.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Our strategy was to create a vivid symbol of this insane act of vandalism to mobilize both public opinion and influential people who can change the fate of the building. So we defined our target audience: 1)The owner of the building, major businessmen and the Moscow government. 2) Leading domestic and international media (as a tool to reach the first audience) 3) The wide public not indifferent to the historical memory of Russia. (as the energy that fills the project). First of all, we have created a bright symbol which attracts attention. Than we have sent it to a few domestic and international media and opinion leaders. We did it in a special date – The Day of Remembrance for victims of political repressions. As a result, public and media outrage was so intense that the mayor's office and the owner of the building had to give up.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

When "Novaya Gazeta" came with the brief it was only 10 days left before the 30th of October - The Day of Remembrance for victims of political repressions. So it was 10 days to create everything. The project budget was 53,000 RUB (about 900 USD). This money was to produce 30 samples of N23, which were sent to top media. We did a premium perfume packaging: a snow-white box with a soft-touch surface. You expect the content to match the packaging. But unfolding the paper, you see a handful of soil from the Kommunarka execution yard. The Kommunarka execution yard is a mass grave site located not far from Moscow. It was used for the burial of people shot in the house at Nikolskaya 23. A bed of soil holds a vial made from a vintage Soviet shell case. The vial contains perfume with the smell of gunpowder.

List the results (30% of vote)

The opening of the elite perfumery boutique VUM in 2019, did not take place. The Moscow government agreed opening a memorial museum at Nikolskaya 23. (It is the latest news, so the fact is not presented in case film). Many investors expressed interest in purchasing the building and supporting the museum, including the president of Russia's second-largest bank, VTB. All of this has become possible due to public outrage. With a budget of 900 USD we received about 200 media publications such as BBC, The Times, Le Monde, El Pais and other media in 32 countries. The project was covered by many lifestyle media: Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, and Esquire, which revealed the truth to potential customers of the boutique. (Earned media value of USD 8 mln) 46,000 people responded to our call and signed an online petition in support of the idea of a museum at Nikolskaya 23.