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Russian YouTube has become a platform for political PR, but it still has to learn how to do it

Many video bloggers agree to do projects commissioned by the authorities, but do not want to work with those who deal with low-quality content.

In early July, several video bloggers with dozens of millions of views released clips dedicated to parks or streets in Moscow, as well as to Sergei Sobyanin. This happened two months before the mayoral election, when the PR campaign continues, in the comments on YouTube and the instigrams of Russian celebrities.

The authorities for the second time in a year are carrying out a major advertising campaign with the help of videobloggers, which are severely criticized by colleagues and spectators. And other top authors do not want to stand in line with those who make such low-quality content, but in principle they do not mind participating in political PR.

Sobolev and WildJam praise the Moscow parks, and the “Diary of Khacha” – personally Sobyanin

Nikolay Sobolev told one of the first about “strong changes in Moscow” under Sobyanin . July 6, he shot a news blog in Gorky Park, although almost all the previous issues recorded in the studio in St. Petersburg. Videobloger emphasized that the capital park used to look “completely different”, the entrance to it was paid, and now the place “is suitable for young people”.

Gorky Park is a place after which one does not really want to return to St. Petersburg, especially this year. It was here that the main trophy of the World Cup was brought.

Nikolay Sobolev
videobloger

Commentators on YouTube accused Sobolev of “corruption” and political advertising of the Moscow authorities. In the next clip videoobloger had toexplain separately about the video from Gorky Park. He called the video “advertising the park” and added that this is his favorite place in Moscow.

I see a difference in principle in praising the place for recreation and the mayor of the city in which this place is located.

Many bloggers in the past, and this year will work directly with different parks in different cities. And from political advertising and agitation to elections at least I refuse several times a week.

Nikolay Sobolev
videobloger

Other video bloggers who almost simultaneously made commercials about Moscow were Dmitry Maslennikov , Max Brandt and Timur Sidelnikov . They talked about the “transformation” of parks and streets, which now “gathers young people.” All these authors, together with Sobolev, are in the blogger agency WildJam, which deals with their promotion and advertising contracts.

Julia Domoratskaya, PR-director of WildJam agency, in a conversation with confirmed that videoblogers made advertising for Moscow parks in the framework of cooperation with the Moscow Department of Culture (part of the Moscow mayor’s office). None of the authors warned viewers about the advertisement and did not make a note in the description of the video.

We cooperate with the Department of Culture and Parks both on commercial terms and on barter. None of the mayor’s office of Moscow did not contact us.

The parks are provided to us by the playgrounds, they help in organizing meetings with the fans, events, and we tell about the positive aspects of parks and so on. Among them Gorky Park, Museon, Sokolniki, Luzhniki, as well as the zoo, the metro and several theaters.

Julia Domoratskaya
PR-director of WildJam agency

At the end of June, more direct promotion Sobyanin made Amiran Sardarov ( “Diary of Hacha”). Videobloger made a 30-minute blog about Moscow: he interviewed the mayor, strolled through the sleeping areas, talked with the Muscovites about traffic jams and toll parking – in all points he made a conclusion about the “positive transformation” of Moscow.

Other video bloggers sharply criticized their colleagues for “political zakazuhu” and veiled advertising

Other Russian-speaking video bloggers almost immediately reacted to the political advertising of Sobolev and WildJam. The first and most detailed analysis of the situation with criticism of the authors was made by YouTube Stas Vasiliev.

This is an open advertisement of the parks and roads of Moscow right in the period in the active PR of the mayor Sobyanin. Stories about how he landscaped the park and how the government is working hard on it.

Stas Vasiliev
videobloger

In the opinion of the video blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky, Sobolev and his colleagues could avoid criticism if they indicated that they had made the advertisement, and did not try to pass it off as an opinion.

What’s wrong with saying “go to the polls”? What’s wrong with telling about a good park? Both ideas are okay, because you are showing a normal civil position. In fact, this is a native advertisement, aimed at good things – the beauty of Moscow or the importance of going to the polls.

In this case, all that needed to be done was to put notes on advertising or product production.

Ruslan Sokolovsky
videobloger

Despite the fact that Sobolev criticized dozens of bloggers with a million audience, he lost only 10,000 subscribers out of four million. Lisa Nered, who in March made a rap clip for the presidential elections, first got hundreds of dislikes under several videos, and returned the positive statistics to the next song .

The same can be seen on the statistics of the channel of the video blogger Yulik, who also took part in the public relations campaign in March 2018. At the peak of the scandal, new viewers ceased to subscribe to it, but in April the schedule began to grow.

Statistics YouTube-channel video blog Yulik: a sharp drop in the number of monthly subscribers in March 2018 was at the peak point of the presidential election. SocialBlade data

Top vloglogery not against cooperation with the authorities, but do not want to associate with poor-quality content

In addition to those authors who agreed to a political PR, there were those who refused. Three millionaire bloggers anonymously told that many authors received proposals on advertising Sergei Sobyanin and creating “organic stories” about the love of Moscow. Orders came from advertising agencies, and not directly from the city hall or departments. But most refused: part of the principal unwillingness to participate in pro-government advertising, some simply did not want to work in one project with videobloggers “making terrible content.”

According to the producer of Wylsacom Media Ilya Ovcharenko, videobloger Valentin Petukhov would have agreed to the promotion of metropolitan parks in case of “exclusivity” of the advertising campaign or in cooperation with “top authors”.

We love Moscow and want to take part in its development. And in this case we would do it, not for money, but for free – as content. In the framework of planned PR – we are not ready to participate.

Ilya Ovcharenko
produced by Wylsacom Media

With Ovcharenko partially agreed Ruslan Usachev: videobloger explained that in the popularization of Russian cities and domestic tourism there is nothing negative if it was not done for mercenary purposes.

It is very insulting that such dvizhnih appear only under the election, which immediately carries some flavor zashvkara. I would only be glad if officials more often attracted bloggers to promo parks, educational projects, domestic tourism and other things useful for the country, but not for some selfish purposes, but for real popularization of the regions.

I would happily shoot episodes of “It’s Time to Fade” in Russian cities, together with the Ministry of Tourism, as this would immediately give access to a bunch of interesting places. Unfortunately, no interest is visible. Therefore, it is not surprising that such sudden projects of bloggers with parks or charity concerts cause suspicion.

Ruslan Usachev
videobloger
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