The ad industry has been swift to act since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a month ago. The war, beyond its tragic humanitarian toll, has thrown businesses further into global chaos, with compounding supply chain and inflationary pressures and complex logistical questions around working in the conflict area.
Agencies and consumer brands alike have proved adaptive, though some have also faced backlash for not immediately withdrawing from Russia. At the same time, questions have arisen over whether hardline sanctions are always the right move, with companies expressing dismay at having to abandon Russian employees and consumers in need of everyday goods and services.
Still, the field looks markedly different now than it did even a few days ago. All six of the major ad holding groups have begun winding down in Russia, with four — Interpublic Group, Publicis Groupe, Omnicom and Dentsu — announcing plans to pull out within the past week. Hundreds of advertisers have enacted similar strategies, freezing marketing spending and investments in the country as they plead for a peaceful resolution.
A recent survey by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), a trade group representing marketers, revealed that 71% of respondents were reducing or pausing media spending in Russia, while 64% were ceasing or scaling back larger operations. Meanwhile, half said they were "publicly voicing support for Ukraine," a 19% increase compared to a poll the organization ran at the onset of the invasion in late February.
"As the war in Ukraine continues to intensify, it's clear that the resolve among the marketing community to band together to protest this inhumane invasion is stronger than ever," ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a statement. "Every day marketers are not only voicing their concern, but also taking direct action by radically altering their presence in Russia."
Below, Marketing Dive has assembled some of the most substantial marketing developments to emerge in the wake of the war. These stories keep tabs on newsworthy developments related to business operations, but also the nuanced thinking required to make the right moves in the face of a complex crisis.