#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.


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.


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.


View this post on Instagram


Winter with the family in Tsarskoye Selo, 1915. Nicholas II made occasional visits home but spent more and more time the in the Army’s HQ.⁣ ⁣ ⁣Support #Romanovs100 in @thewebbyawards and vote by clicking on our link in BIO⁣⁣

A post shared by #romanovs100 (@romanovs100) on


View this post on Instagram


My favorite hooman, my best friend and partner in crime, the boy who had to grow up fast learning what mattered in life the hard way. When one comes face to face with death at such a tender age, there’s no way back: Alexei Romanov, thank you for teaching me how important love, friendship and family is. #hooman #myhooman #dogsofinstagram #spanielsofinstagram #dogsofinstagram

A post shared by Joy the Russian Spaniel (@spaniel_joy_romanov) on

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:


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.


  • 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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6 Best Social Media Campaigns of 2017 – Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honour the best of social media by recognizing the influencers, brands and organizations on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Musically and more.

There are two competitions of the Shorty Awards: the Influencer competition and the Brands & Organizations competition.

The awards for Brands & Organizations honour the professionals who devise and execute creative and innovative work in social media.

Here is our pick of 6 Best Social Media Campaigns of 2017:

1. WhatsApp drama series – UK’SHONA KWELANGA

UK’SHONA KWELANGA is the first drama series broadcasted on WhatsApp and winner in the Financial Services category:


Uk’shona Kwelanga was created to grow awareness of Sanlam as a provider of funeral insurance.

The story was told in texts, voice notes and video clips and followed the Langa family from Soweto as they prepared for the funeral of their patriarch. Family tensions explode as financial pressures mount and the modern world clashes with tradition.

The series was delivered in 7 daily episodes as if you were following a real family conversation on Whatsapp throughout each day.


  • 146% increase in leads conversions;
  • 880,000 minutes of content consumed (average time spent 20 minutes in total);
  • 46000 subscribers;
  • 3 million rands + earned media impressions.

Ukshona Kwelanga case study from Ukshona Kwelanga on Vimeo.

2. Snapchat filters – PUMA: PUMALABS

The Snapchat filter PUMA: PUMALABS won in the Retail & E-Commerce category.


PUMA developed this Snapchat filter, PUMALab to announce the opening of its store in Detroit and to drive store traffic and sales.


Taking Detroit locations as inspiration, PUMA partnered with local artists to design a series of one-off neighbourhood geofilters on Snapchat. They conceived these geofilters in their own unique style and matching their limited edition Clyde colorways being released in-store on launch day. Each filter was sharable and designed as an ‘admit one’ ticket to opening day when saved to Snapchat memories. To encourage users to save, the brand placed the ‘admit one’ motif on the geofilter hovering just above the ‘save to memories’ button on Snap’s user interface.


  • Over 17,000 local sneakerheads reached (about 68% of all sneakerheads in the city);
  • More than 486 hours spent engaging with the content and geofilters;
  • Sales: the store sold out of the limited edition sneakers on the first day of launch, beating targets by a full four weeks.

PUMA | PUMALabs Launch | New York from 1000heads on Vimeo.


Liar is the must see drama of ITV in Autumn 2017. The Liar Launch Campaign is the winner in the Facebook category.


The drama Liar told viewers two sides of the same story. The campaign’s goal was to drive the audience to feel genuinely torn from the start about which one is the Liar.

The campaign began by utilising Facebook’s new video header feature to introduce the characters and tease the plot.

It was followed by a series of Facebook Canvases that allowed users to explore the stories of the two lead characters for themselves, hearing the same event told from two different perspectives.

Finally, to grab people’s attention, the brand made clever use of audio by overlaying each of the character’s story in a different audio channel on the same video. Viewers could hear his story in the left headphone and her story in the right.


  • The canvases reached 2.1million people;
  • More than 3,000 accumulated hours spent watching the canvases;
  • The headphone video reached 10m people, with a large percentage of people viewing the video multiple times to experience it in different ways.

Liar Launch Campaign Case Study from ITV Creative on Vimeo.


The #NUGGSFORCARTER campaign was developed by the fast-food restaurant Wendy’s. It is the winner in the Twitter category.


Carter Wilkerson, an American teenager tweeted Wendy’s Twitter handle to ask how many retweets he would need to get a free year’s supply of chicken nuggets.

Wendy’s replied: 18 Million. That became the brand’s launch point for an integrated campaign, fuelling Wilkerson’s quest and organically driving the biggest retweet in Twitter history. In just 48 hours, Carter amassed 1 million retweets. Wendy’s saw a great opportunity for brand engagement and awareness and set a new goal for Carter, which was a lot more achievable than 18 million retweets. They challenged Carter to break the retweet world record of 3.2 million, which was owned by Ellen DeGeneres’ celebrity-loaded Oscar selfie. Ellen jumped in on the challenge and took the campaign to another level.


  • On May 9, 2017, Carter’s tweet about Wendy’s chicken nuggets officially beat Ellen’s Oscar selfie, going on to earn 3.6+ million retweets — the most in Twitter history;
  • 3.2+ billion earned media impressions;
  • Almost 16 million audience impressions;
  • 5 million online mentions;
  • Increase in organic conversations mentioning Wendy’s by 376% compared to previous year;
  • Wendy’s donated $100,000 in Carter’s name to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption;
  • Twitter verified Carter’s account AND created a custom emoji triggered by the #NuggsForCarter hashtag, used 234,000+ times;
  • @Wendy’s earned 213,000 new Twitter followers and earned 23.9 million visits to its Twitter profile.


Samsung is the winner in the Emojis category with its emoji answer to a troll’s post on Twitter.


To launch its new Galaxy S8, Samsung asked fans to share their first photo on the new phone. One hater answered “a dick pic” and the brand chose to reply with a one-emoji response: the microscope.

Results (in just a few days):

  • 14.6Million impressions;
  • 87,500 brand mentions;
  • 250k engagements;
  • 80+ news stories.

6. Native Advertising on Instagram: FRUIT BY THE FOOT CHALLENGE

The Fruit by the Foot Challenge won the Native Advertising category.


To drive awareness, the brand’s agency created the #fruitbythefootchallenge in which participants race their family and friends to see who can eat a Fruit By The Foot™ the fastest with no hands. The campaign leveraged influencers to promote the challenge and make it go viral.


  • 30Million+ views;
  • 500+ user videos submitted;
  • Featured on TV and News outlets across the US.

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