Video message Set the Record Straight

Author Design studio Overpriced, Roberts Rūrāns, Eduards Balodis, Jānis Vītoliņš
Contractor: NATO
Date created: January–June of 2022

Brief description of the project

The idea was started even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The video Set the Record Straight talks about the need to understand the facts about NATO's expansion and debunks the myths spread about the NATO alliance by the Russian media and propaganda channels. The communication video was primarily intended for a Russian-speaking audience but later was translated into English. The hand-painted illustrations bring the video message to life, and the animation conveys key facts in a mature manner. The sound design makes it easier to understand both the nature of the video and the meaning of various characters and objects.

Originality and creativity of the idea

NATO approached us with the task of conveying to the general public the facts that disprove the information about NATO's expansion broadcast in Russian propaganda channels in an aesthetic but at the same time educational and NATO alliance-appropriate, serious way. The script was created by our studio, and the hand-drawn illustrations ensured the uniqueness of this video.

Definition of the problem and the relevance of the applied solutions

What is the tone of voice of NATO and how to convey the message of this influential organization during wartime? That was the first question we tried to address when we began work on the script and the story board. Since the main audience of the video was the Russian-speaking viewer, it was very important to separate truth from lies as efficiently and accurately as possible. In order to make this complex topic easier to understand, we decided at the very beginning of the project to use a specific illustration and voice recording style that resonates with the text of the script and the image of the NATO alliance.

Co-creation, stakeholder involvement and cooperation during the realisation process

When creating communication materials for such a politically important organization as NATO, it was especially important for us and NATO to ensure that there is no room to misunderstand any of the words, visuals, tone of voice and other elements. For this reason we closely collaborated with the project manager on the NATO side who was able to skilfully communicate the particularly delicate topics and things that we had to take into account at the very early stages of the project. On our side, we worked in a close team, which ensured the possibility to start preparing the English version immediately after we delivered the Russian language version to NATO.

Functionality and technological solutions

The video was adapted for various NATO communication channels on social media. Both English and Russian text subtitles were added to the videos for easier comprehensibility of the content.

Aesthetics and other experiential dimensions

The hand-painted illustrations add extra life and an organic feel to this video while the moving animations guide the viewer through the main facts in a clear and specific way, maintaining a mature, serious character. The sound design makes it easier to understand both the nature of the video and the meaning of various characters and objects. We used clear shapes in the illustrations and did not saturate the frames with too many details to ensure the comprehensibility of the content even on very small screens which is especially important in the context of social media.

Economic significance, sustainability and circularity

Since NATO used this video for its communication purposes to emphasize its position on a specific issue, the video does not have economic significance in a literal sense. However, it must be recognized that public opinion (which this video seeks to influence) or the knowledge of facts in the Russian-speaking part of the population can potentially influence the political and economic course in the region if we project this issue into the future.

Social relevance, inclusion, availability and accessibility

Work on the video began even before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, and it the work became even more important as the war escalated, and news of NATO involvement became increasingly polarized. Initially, the video was created for NATO's Russian social network accounts but after we published the Russian version it was adapter into English as well. Thanks to its distribution on social networks, the video has received several hundred thousand views.