deep dive into a place where only letters from the World War II —or Great Patriotic War, as it is known in Russia—surround you from all sides. Just like in any part of the globe, the WWII brought a lot of casualties in the former Soviet country, with more than 25 million people losing their lives during these rough times. But throughout the whole war, billions of letters were sent from soldiers to their families.

Six billion to be more specific. Of which millions have either been lost or their writing had been gradually erased by time, extreme temperatures, or humidity, making them unreadable. Fortunately, there is a way of bringing them back to life. They can start to look just like in the day they were sent home from the front-lines, thanks to a project Google initiated in partnership with ad agency Friends.

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This week’s #ThrowBrandThursday we see the tech giant go great lengths to collect the largest online archive of wartime letters in the ex-communist state. Plus, users get to admire the whole heartbreaking collection via the “Alive Memory” project, a campaign that celebrates the Russian Victory Day and establishes local relevance for the world’s biggest search engine.

The Moscow-based agency thought of an ingenious way to turn these letters into an impressive word monument before they can be labeled as “gone forever.” To do so, the creatives turned collected letters from families around the country and then turned this vast database into an online monument.

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Then, via the project, the agency invited everyone who has such letters lying around in one of their drawers to help and donate them to the site, giving a hand at building even a larger monument. Today, the project stands as a memorable statement that helps the descendants not to forget about their relatives who gave their lives on the frontline for the sake of the country.

The largest archive of letters of the WWII was born thanks to the help of seven talented artists who were put in charge of choosing the wartime letters. After the project first contours took its shape, the creatives transformed the campaign into a social movement, asking the audience to contribute as much as they can. The letters were then staged as public readings and then shared as short videos.

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“Anyone could add their family’s letter to this archive, and each new letter, word by word, created this interactive monument in real time. Every word clicked through to a specific letter. We analyzed these letters, linking them with their recipients and senders, and traced their delivery routes,” explained the creatives.

Besides the visual content, the agency dedicated a lot of hard work to the project’s logo, which was literally brought it to life. Dynamic and pure, the logo was crafted based on a veteran’s heartbeat, who donated his pulse rate to give energy to a motionless picture, that now has so much history embedded in its genetics.

“In the logo of the project “Alive Memories,” memories have literally come to life. This logo will preserve our memories of the Great Patriotic War and its heroes forever,” says the agency. Take a peek at the video below.


Client: Google

Agency: Friends