Cannes Lions

#Romanovs100: 4,000 photos. 4 social networks. 1 family.

RT, Moscow / RT / 2019

Presentation Image
Supporting Images
Supporting Images






The Romanovs were photography pioneers — in the early 20th century they owned the world's first portable cameras capturing almost every meaningful event in their lives.

On July 17, 1918, Nicholas Romanov, last Tsar of the Russian Empire, his wife and five children were executed by the Bolsheviks. To pay tribute to the family, we merged a large set of visual data with transmedia storytelling to piece out the big picture of a "lost Russia". Thousands of the Romanov’s images were converted into platform-specific social media narratives on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram with accounts on each network showcasing unique format and content.


- create an immersive educational experience that can resonate with “new generations” fully-adapted to social media

- transform content for an interactive AR book which makes learning an emotional journey into history

- introduce new approaches which can be effectively used in history education courses


The Romanov archive is perhaps the first private photo chronicle in history to boast such detail and scope. We wanted to pay a "live" tribute to the last ruling family, giving these photographs - once kept in family albums - a second, digital life in social networks.

Data gathering comprised multiple stages: collecting thousands of century-old analogue pictures into an online archive; identification, tagging & curation of visual data; research & analysis through dozens of sources to locate every photo in its factual historical context.

Collaborating with researchers & historians we managed to investigate and verify almost all of the images. To link visual data to historical facts and create narratives for social media posts, we used dozens of different sources, ranging from personal diaries and letters by Nicholas II himself, to memoirs written by his contemporaries and extensive work by Russian and foreign historians.


#Romanovs100 aims to show that learning history can be compelling and interactive. It addresses younger audiences through innovative digital approaches in educational storytelling.

Mixing thousands of archive photos with immersive media formats, the project breaks traditional documentary genre boundaries to create a new kind of history narrative that is multi-angle, informative, but mainly engaging and interactive, designed to educate and inspire future self-learners.

#Romanovs100 culminated in AR photo album which enhances this experience of learning history. The purpose of AR is to extend the storytelling through limitations implied by print & social media, and to allow readers become active co-creators of the unfolding story. The app offers an immersive journey into history triggering multiple interactions: 3D animation-models, swipeable galleries, AR infographic, short video documentaries rolling inside photos.

It also features a 360-degree adventure into a dream of the young Tsarevich: VR animation where reality is augmented with fantasy.


Media planning was among the biggest challenges during data curation process - the task was to keep the narrative unique and original for every social media account. Guided by the specifics of every particular network and their audiences, the team selected and channeled the content between YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This laid the ground for creating comprehensive multimedia cross-platform content: more text-sophisticated posts for Facebook, snappy visuals for Instagram, first-person storytelling on Twitter, informational videos on YouTube.

Running for 100 days in 2018, the project's key storytelling pillars comprised: 100-year-old shots transformed into 3D & 180-degree Facebook experiences; documentary-style YouTube cuts; real-time Twitter blog-posts by historical characters; POV Instagram perspective by the Romanov's dog; Digital colorization contest judged by renowned artist Marina Amaral; Original soundtrack composed by renowned Russian musician Peter Nalitch; Music video integrating Romanov's photos into 360-degree VR Animation; Print edition mixing photos with AR tech.


#Romanovs100 is widely acclaimed by educators, historians and researchers. The project was selected for the official educational program at America's biggest creative festival - SXSW 2019 in Austin where we premiered the AR book. The response from educators and students was overwhelming: books were sought and delivered to public libraries, universities in Texas, Phoenix, New York, Cornell and many other educational secondary institutions.

In general, #Romanovs100 had a remarkable impact across social media. The project generated over 25 million impressions & gathered around 55,000 fans & followers. Social media posts generated over 1 million engagements.

#Romanovs100 became the key hashtag during the centenary of the Romanovs' death on Twitter worldwide with the project's tag featured in tweets by museums, history magazines, publishers, historians, students and educators.

The project received global media coverage, featuring in The History Extra magazine, BBC News Hour, Tatler, Sky News, Daily Mail.

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