The Russian invasion of Ukraine has rippled across the globe, as they continue a senseless attack on the Ukrainian people and the advertising industry can help support Ukraine. Countries around the world are intervening with sanctions on Russia, and financial aid for Ukraine, with the goal of limiting the resources and money that the Russian government has at their disposal to continue the assault. But advertisers can also play a role in supporting Ukraine and limiting Russian fundraising.
The U.S. and other allied nations have imposed financial and trade sanctions on Russia, which is a good start. Additionally, members of Congress have also called on Silicon Valley to play a role in stifling misinformation and fundraising from Russia. US Senator Mark Warner cited that “information warfare constitutes an integral part of Russian military doctrine.”
Wars run on money. Russia is largely reliant on digital channels from the outside world to fund its war effort. This is where advertisers and ad platforms can step in. If digital platforms can bottleneck the avenues from which Russia obtains money and resources, it can curb their ability to continue their assault on Ukraine.
Here are some of the ways the advertising industry can play a role in supporting Ukraine as it defends itself against unprovoked Russian attacks.
Dissolve Ties and Partnerships with Russian-based Companies
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy made a humble request to US Congress in mid-March to stop buying from businesses that fund Vladimir Putin’s war.
The Yale School of Management has been tracking and periodically updating a list of corporate actions in Russia. This list includes companies that are suspending new Russian investments, and even defying demands to halt business operations. By sharing this list of corporate actions in Russia, digital platforms can better understand how Russia is soliciting funds for its war. This allows platforms to make more informed decisions about which companies to dissolve ties with.
Deny Running Ad Campaigns from Russian Companies
Advertising platforms can help by refusing to accept campaigns from companies or organizations affiliated with Russia. The Yale list can serve as a guidebook to determine companies that should be prevented from running ads on platforms.
Major digital platforms including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have already blocked Russian state media from advertising on their platforms. In response, Russia has blocked access to Facebook and other platforms within its borders. Platforms may lose money by penalizing Russia, but the cost of passively accepting Putin’s war is much greater.
Provide Discounted Rates, Pro Bono Deployment of Ukrainian Fundraising Campaigns
Advertising platforms can offer discounted or pro bono rates for fundraising campaigns to support Ukraine. However, be wary of fundraising scams using the crisis as an opportunity to get a quick buck from sympathetic individuals who want to donate. With this in mind, be sure to vet the sources of ad campaigns, and that they are directly linked to their official organization’s URLs. Many scammers will claim to be fundraising for an organization with which they are not actually associated. For information about how to identify and avoid these types of scams, read this article from CNBC.
Ad platforms can start by discounting advertising rates for legitimate fundraising campaigns for Ukraine. NPR aggregated this list of organizations offering support to Ukraine. Global Citizen also laid out other avenues through which you can support the war resistance effort. You can also join BDEX in its effort to support Ukrainian refugees.
Join BDEX in Providing Relief for Ukrainian Refugees
BDEX is currently supporting Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Poland to provide living kits and long-term housing plans for refugees. EO is actively setting up shelters in Poland for people they helped get over the border. Additionally, EO continues to send truckloads of supplies into Ukraine.
Please consider donating to EO with the link above or through the web banner on BDEX’s homepage.
Regardless of how you support Ukraine – whether through donations, updating advertising policies or refusing to buy from companies who are funding the war effort – we must all stand in solidarity against Russian oppression.
BDEX encourages businesses everywhere to amplify these resources and help end this act of aggression.