KETCHUM, San Francisco / GOOGLE / 2016
Helping Russians experience literature in a new way required a grand idea, and a focal point. We found that in Anton Chekhov. Born 155 years ago, Chekhov was renowned for his simple short stories and plays that shone light into the human soul and revealed the secrets in the hearts of ordinary people.
Our idea was to take Chekhov’s greatest works from the ordinary page to the digital theatrical stage, transforming how Russians experience literature through live, immersive events and YouTube – showing them that his stories are as relevant today as 100 years ago. We’d tempt them to discover their perfect Chekhov character match with an online personality quiz and audition for a part in the biggest theatrical stage and live YouTube spectacle ever produced in Russia -- celebrating 50 works, including a special edition of “The Seagull,” performed in seven theaters simultaneously. All for free, through Google technology.
Google created an immersive experience on a grand scale, pairing citizens with government officials, celebrities and actors to experience the richness of great literature on stage together. Their passionate performances, scenes and soliloquies became more thrilling as they were broadcast live on YouTube.
- A website featured the personality quiz for people to identify “their” Chekhov characters.
- Video booths at outdoor events enabled people to “audition.” Others uploaded audition videos to YouTube.
- We convinced celebrities, vloggers, actors, dancers and rappers to appear for free in promotional videos.
- Award-winning director/screenwriter Natalia Anastasieva and producer Fekla Tolstoy arranged Chekhov's work into a single storyline celebrating a day with his characters.
- On Sept. 25, hundreds of modern-day Chekhov “characters” performed his work live on YouTube via the biggest online production ever created in Russia, staged from multiple venues (including Moscow Art Theatre, which premiered Chekhov’s masterpieces a century ago).
The project reached 56% of the Russian population without any paid media. Not a single person was paid for their involvement.
Earned Media Coverage
• 1,100 media articles generated 5.5 billion media impressions
• 65 TV news stories aired on every major Russian station
Social Media Engagement
• The quiz, “Who you are among Chekhov’s characters?” was taken 1.2 million times
• 70 celebrity posts produced an additional five million impressions
• Total social media reach exceeded 33 million; 63,000 used the project hashtag
• 700,000 unique viewers watched the live broadcast
• The first promotional video was viewed 8.7 million times; the second, 7.8 million times
Event and Influencer Engagement
• 300 people who auditioned were “cast” as a Chekhov character
• 100 A-list Russian celebrities performed Chekhov’s passages
• 32 high-ranking government officials and high profile stakeholders participated in or endorsed the Google project
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