Ukrainian Creatives Pleaded for Tanks With a #FreeTheLeopards Protest Campaign

By Kyle O'Brien 

Ukraine desperately needs arms in its fight against Russian aggression and the creatives from that country are doing whatever it takes to help the cause. In a recent case of Ukrainian ingenuity, creative agency Bickerstaff.734 got people to wear their best leopard attire to help convince Germany to provide Ukraine with tanks.

The agency worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine to create a social flashmob campaign, “#FreeTheLeopards” that invited both Ukrainians and foreigners to take photos in leopard print clothes and post them with the hashtag.

On January 20, a meeting of the Contact Group on Defense of Ukraine was held at the Ramstein U.S. Air Force Base in Germany to try to get German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Germany didn’t initially support the decision, which outraged not only Ukrainians but also German residents. A protest was held near the Bundestag with the slogan “Free the Leopards.”


The slogan and cause became popular outside of Germany and on January 22, Ukrainian creatives launched a social flash mob on Ukraine’s official Instagram page.


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“Put on your favorite leopard clothes and post a selfie with #FreeTheLeopards,” the post said.

Users and companies quickly picked up on the trend and in just one day, more than 5,480 posts with the hashtag #FreeTheLeopards appeared on Instagram. The video, created for by Bickerstaff.734 has been viewed by 3.5 million people. There were more than 13,000 posts under the hashtag, and 4.5 million users have already watched the video.

Regional celebrities, including German stylist Frank Wild, Jamala, Andrii Bednyakov, Lesya Nikityuk and other Ukrainian stars also supported the movement with their photos.

After months of debate, Germany officially confirmed on January 25 that the country would help Ukraine by supplying the Leopard 2 tanks.