• Brandminds 2020

#Romanovs100 -
Digital Storytelling At Its Best

This article explores one of the best examples of digital storytelling I’ve seen lately – #Romanovs100.

Whether in spoken or written words, people tell stories to share knowledge, inspiration and to feel connected to the other members of their community.

We’re now in the digital age.

How has storytelling changed?

How do brands make use of the available digital tools to tell stories?

Here is the best example of digital storytelling – #Romanovs100.

#romanovs100
source: #Romanovs100.com

Nicholas Romanov holds a special place in the history of the Russian Empire. He was the last Tsar and had a tragic and violent death at the hands of the Bolsheviks who executed him, his wife and his five children on July 17, 1918.

To pay tribute to the Romanovs, the Russian TV channel RT created and produced #Romanovs100.

#Romanovs100 is an educational project designed to bring to light a part of Russian history which has been erased from the history books by the Soviet rule.

The inspiration for this project came from the Romanovs themselves – they were pioneers of photography. In the early 20th century they owned the world’s first portable Kodak cameras and captured almost every meaningful event in their lives.

Romanov_family
The Romanov family / #romanovs100.com

Fortunately, the Romanov archive has been preserved. The team unearthed over 4000 photographs which detailed the family’s private life.

Let’s see how #Romanovs100 came to life!

Campaign Goal:

Tell the story of the Romanovs, the Russian Empire’s last royal family with the purpose to educate the audience on decades of unknown history.

Campaign Tools:

+4000 turn of the Century black and white photographs taken by the Romanov family members.

Campaign Strategy:

Combine the visual language of photography with the digital reality of social media.

Campaign Mediums:

  • Website: https://romanovs100.com/
  • 4 social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube with each account showcasing its own narrative, format and content.

10 Creative Directions:

1. Facebook

180° retro images in spherical view, 3D immersive experience.

2. Instagram

Two accounts, one of the royal dog, Joy.

3. YouTube

42 short documentary-style videos

4. Twitter

Five accounts featuring “real-time” blogs by Tsar Nicholas II himself, his wife Alexandra, their family doctor and their four daughters collectively referred to as OTMA (Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia).

5. AR photo album

A limited print edition of the project using AR technology to create an interactive history book.

Romanovs100: AR family photo album (Extended version) from #1917LIVE on Vimeo.

6. Video teasers

Using 8mm & 16mm retro cameras and authentic stage props, the team reconstructed several of the Romanovs’ original photographs, setting the still images in motion.

#Romanovs100: The Snow Tower (TRAILER #1) from #1917LIVE on Vimeo.

7. Ambrotype posters

Photo teasers using 160-year-old ambrotype photography technique.

How it’s done:

#Romanovs100: 19th century photo technique in action from #1917LIVE on Vimeo.

The ambro-photograph:

romanovs100
source: #Romanovs100.com

 

8. Original soundtrack to illustrate the project in YouTube and Facebook videos, teasers and trailers.

9. VR animation

A music video combining photos & VR Animation.

10. Colourization contest

Fans and followers were invited to enter the world’s first-ever digital colourization.

History in color: Romanovs100 digital colorization contest case study from #1917LIVE on Vimeo.

Campaign Results:

  • 25 million impressions;
  • 55,000 fans and followers;
  • +1 million post engagements;
  • +1 million video views;
  • 500,000 minutes watched;
  • #Romanovs100 on Twitter grew 2000%.

Global media coverage:

Sky News, BBC Newshour, History Extra, The Sunday Telegraph, Quartz, Daily Mail, Tatler, Culture Trip.

Awards:

  • Best Images at the 2019 Shorty Awards;
  • Silver at the 2018 Clio Entertainment Awards;
  • Nominee at Social-Best Photography & Graphics at the 2019 Webby Awards;
  • Merit at the 2019 ADC Awards;
  • Most Innovative Use of Social at 2019 The Drum Social Buzz Awards;
  • Best Original Content Series at the 2019 Digiday Media Awards Europe.

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