Moscow has been in a state of turmoil if you haven’t noticed, what with smog, heat waves and other acts of Mother Nature ravaging the Russian capital and its outlying parts.
So, what better time for creative Pat Buchanan to join up with BBDO’s branch out there. Buchanan, a former CW at Campbell-Ewald, took a senior copywriter post at BBDO Moscow to work on Mercedes-Benz and Pepsi among other clients and has been posting about his experiences over the past week on the Creative Movers blog, And Junior Shakers.
Despite eight-hour time lags and the hazards he’s confronting, Buchanan got back to us with a few answers about his new gig and the state of affairs in Mother Russia. We’ll hopefully have more communique with Buchanan as the climate-based chaos continues. Read on after the jump…
What attracted you to BBDO/Moscow?
I was looking for adventure, and I got it, although not exactly the kind I was hoping for…(Driving tanks, shooting AK-47’s & drinking Vodka with leggy, captivating spies.) I also wanted to work at BBDO on some world famous brands in a completely foreign environment. When I got this opportunity it was a tough decision to make, but ultimately I didn’t want to live with the “what if?” question I’d forever ask myself if I didn’t take it. I’d rather regret things I’ve done than things I haven’t done.
What is the country like in this state of turmoil?
To me, the last week has been like Hell on Earth. It’s the closest thing to experiencing the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust without the nuclear part. The worst of it is over now, but from the middle of last week up until yesterday, the visibility ranged around 100 feet in some places, and the air was so thick you could feel yourself moving through it, like a dusty soup. The second you stepped outside the noxious fumes from the fires & the burning peat was sickening. Everywhere I went it seemed like something right around the corner was on fire. I had to wear a respirator mask at all times, and sunglasses to help keep the burning air out of my eyes. One thing this has proven to me–Russians are tough as shit (or suicidal, depending on how you look at it.) If something like this had happened in any American city, everything would have stopped and the whole city would have stayed indoors the whole week. Here, it was like business as usual, even though simply breathing was deadly. There were a large number of people not wearing masks, even during the worst of it.
How does this directly affect your ad business?
Like I said above, the Russians aren’t gonna let a little black lung spoil their work day. We kept on working through the whole thing, even though for 3 days the inside of the office was filled with a smoky haze & the fumes to go with it. One day I felt like I was high as a kite and couldn’t really focus my thoughts on anything. There was a mass “respirator giveaway” at the front desk one afternoon. Some agencies give you happy hour on Fridays; BBDO Moscow gives you respirators! I’ve been thru hurricanes, earthquakes, & tornadoes, but this is by far THE MOST fucked up environmental event I’ve ever experienced. At least I’ll have some amazing stories to tell if I don’t die of respiratory failure next week.