Make Emails Not War: How Brands Helped Ukraine In 2022

Make Emails Not War: How Brands Helped Ukraine In 2022
21 February, 2023 • ... • 34271 views
Selzy Team
by Selzy Team

It’s been a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. The whole world is still in shock, and the global consequences of the conflict are yet to unfold — but at the same time, we’re impressed with how the West united to help the suffering.

Keep reading to learn how brands have helped the Ukrainians in 2022 — and look at all the amazing emails they’ve sent to fulfill the important mission in the devastating times.

Why it’s important for companies to stand with Ukraine

Using the real war with real victims as a reason to run campaigns and send out emails may come across as virtue signaling in the name of clout and sales. It’s understandable — one wrong move and you look like the “I Support The Current Thing” guy from Twitter.

However, when brands were running anti-war campaigns, it was beyond people-pleasing. Let’s find out why solidarity campaigns were — and still are! — important.

You can actually contribute to the situation

Your online store can’t stop the war — but it can help those in need. More people are eager to help when they get something in return than people who are eager to just donate money. That’s why a brand running a fundraising campaign can end up collecting more money for the good than solitary volunteers. 

If you’re still questioning, initiatives like these are welcomed by Ukrainians themselves. There is a website called Buy For Ukraine, which is essentially a database of brands that donate their profits to war victims or the Ukrainian army. It was created by two volunteers of Ukrainian descent who currently reside in Estonia. By April 2022, Sofia and Solomya noticed a decline in direct donations. This is how the idea of the website was born. 

Long story short, you can help those in need — with money and spreading information about non-profit organizations among your audience.

You spread awareness

War fatigue has many consequences. People forget about the events and go on with their lives. They organize fewer rallies, they are less ready to volunteer or donate. And, on the global scale, Ukraine gets less military help because the issue stops being relevant even for politicians. 

Since the war has been going on for a year now, it’s especially important to remind people that the problem is still relevant and many people suffer. And marketing emails are an effective “reminder” — according to a report by Reuters, more people avoid reading the news these days compared to 2017.

You also save your reputation

The survey conducted by Deloitte in 2022 shows that Gen Z and Millennials are more politically conscious than ever. Their main concern is climate change but the Russian Invasion of Ukraine is important to them too — here’s a quote from one of the participants:

The Ukraine situation is extremely distressing. It’s just another existential worry to add to a growing list. I want to believe that, on average, we as people are making progress towards more peaceful co-existence. But what is happening in Ukraine certainly hurts that narrative.

– C, 32, US

C is not the only one worried:

…I’m concerned about conflict in Russia and Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and other global conflicts. All of these things prompt me to have at least a low level of stress basically at all times.

– Rebecca, 25, US

What does it mean for your business though? According to the latest study by LendingTree, 1 in 4 Americans boycott companies for political disagreements, which includes silencing social issues. What is even more interesting, the customer groups most likely to stop spending money for these reasons were six-figure earners (37%), and Millennials and Gen Z (28% and 32%). These findings imply that if your business acts like a villain when it comes to problems like global conflicts, you’re likely to lose a lot of customers — and a lot of money. 

The key takeaway is, villains are only attractive in the movies — don’t be an evil corporation and stand with Ukraine.

How brands helped Ukraine in 2022

During the last year, companies have come up with different ways to contribute to the greater good. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular strategies — and how brands promoted their campaigns related to the conflict via emails. 

Merch sales

Probably the most popular type of 2022 anti-war campaigns was selling certain items or limited edition collections with full or partial profit donations to charity funds and projects, or certain people and their families. The items are usually designed in Ukrainian flag colors or include cultural symbols like sunflowers. This email by Bookbinders Design is a classic example of this tactic:

Anti-war email from Bookbinders Design
Source: Milled

This Swedish bookbinding brand offered a special edition of their product with Ukrainian-themed design and donated all the proceeds to charity. Happy Masks followed the same formula:

Anti-war email from Happy Masks
Source: Milled

The brand released a new design to show solidarity and donated all the proceeds to UNICEF. In their promotional email, they also educated their customers about the symbolism of sunflowers in Ukrainian culture.

Kimai, on the other hand, followed a slightly more unconventional path. This ethical jewelry brand, instead of releasing jewelry pieces, dropped a brand merch hoodie with a more subtle design:

Anti-war email from Kimai
Source: Milled

Their campaign shows that you can release something your business doesn’t usually sell for charity purposes. This tactic can be even more effective at times because exclusivity can drive more sales. Even better, releasing brand merch adds to the motivation — loyal customers might like the opportunity to express their loyalty to your company and help children at the same time.

Unlike Kimai, Bottletop followed a more common recipe for such campaigns. This vegan and sustainable brand of handbags and accessories released yellow and blue bracelets and donated all the proceeds:

Anti-war email from Bottletop
Source: Milled

But what if you don’t make or sell any kind of apparel or jewelry? Look at this email by Harney & Sons. The company released the Yellow & Blue tea blend to help displaced Ukrainian citizens:

Anti-war email from Harney & Sons
Source: Milled

Although that tactic was the most popular one last year, we appreciate this campaign for two reasons — the brand reacted since Day 1 and in this email, they actually reported how much money they raised, which increases the credibility of the campaign. The point is, any business can follow this tactic.

We’ve seen sunflower face masks but what about actual flowers? This campaign from FlowerBX is probably one of our favorites:

Anti-war email from FlowerBX
Source: Milled

This campaign is more creative than other merch sale campaigns from our list, it has a sweet premise, and the email is well-designed. 

This campaign from Everpress is pretty interesting as well. This marketplace specializing in custom printed shirts highlighted a bunch of merch items with pro-Ukrainian designs — and proceeds for each shirt were donated to different charities, which is a reasonable choice:

Anti-war email from Everpress
Source: Milled

The brand also provided some additional information on helping marginalized groups, which is a great idea too.

Creator highlights

One of the tactics brands used to show they care is sending emails where they promote Ukrainian or Ukraine-based creators and their works. 

This email from Artfinder is a textbook example of this format:

Anti-war email from Artfinder
Source: Milled

This art marketplace honored the winner of their contest and encouraged customers to buy more from this artist. It also included the interview where Bogdan Shiptenko shares the firsthand experience of life during wartime. But Artfinder is not the only company that expressed industrial solidarity. 

A jewelry brand Kris Nations highlighted a collection designed by their Ukrainian employee and donated the proceeds to charity:

Anti-war email from Kris Nations
Source: Milled

In a similar fashion, a card and scrapbooking producer and retailer Colorado Craft Company promoted a series of stamps and cards to help Yana Smakula, a famous cardmaker based in Ukraine:

Anti-war email from Colorado Craft Company
Source: Milled

We deeply appreciate this campaign for two reasons. Firstly, fundraising campaigns for a particular person instead of a charity fund are seen as more trustworthy — therefore, more effective. Secondly, the brand included Yana’s socials and her mailing list. This both raises awareness about the conflict and contributes to the sales of a certain creator’s works, which helps them too.

Redbubble, a marketplace for merch with user-submitted illustrations, did the similar thing. They donated the service fee from Ukrainian artists and pro-Ukrainian designs to charity — and highlighted certain creators to help them sell more:

Anti-war email from Redbubble
Source: Milled

The platform for art commissions Scopio fed two birds with one meal too. The company turned the works of 19 Ukrainian artists into NFTs to help both the creators and the Ukrainian community. Including the creators’ socials was also a great move — promoting the artists themselves instead of the platform allows the users who are not crypto-savvy to support particular creators in a tough situation.

Anti-war email from Scopio
Source: Milled

Fiverr, another freelance platform from our list, went further and encouraged employers using the service to work more with Ukraine-based freelancers, both to help them and the community:

Anti-war email from Fiverr
Source: Really Good Emails

Other brands chose to run a campaign purely focused on awareness instead of charity or direct financial help. For example, an old British book retailer Blackwell’s made a reading list with books by Ukrainian authors and non-fiction works specifically about the conflict:

Anti-war email by Blackwell’s
Source: Milled

Campaigns like this one don’t focus on charity specifically. However, promoting Ukrainian creators still contributes to the situation. The increased sales of their works are a direct support for particular people from the community whose life was disrupted by the conflict. 

Calls to donation

Some companies didn’t want to mix business with charity at all. That’s why, instead of sending promotional emails, they opted for purely informational messages instead. This one from Noodleist is probably our favorite:

Anti-war email from Noodleist
Source: Milled

We like this email for its tasteful minimalist design, a heartfelt copy, and the fact that the company provided a list of several organizations with a CTA button for each of them.

Tripadvisor chose the same tactic:

Anti-war email from Tripadvisor
Source: Really Good Emails

One good thing about this email is that the company shared the numbers and set a financial goal for donations. The “Donate now” CTA button and a little sense of urgency in the copy is also a wise decision.

And this email from Messermeister is pretty interesting. It promotes a charity auction where the brand sells a limited edition of knives. But they also included an option for straight-up donations, which is very considerate and allows people to help even when they don’t need knives or don’t want to take part in an auction.

Anti-war email from Messermeister
Source: Milled

Wrapping up

We published this article to remind you that since February 2022, the war is still going on — and many people still need help. If you run a business, big or small, feel free to use our selection of anti-war emails as an inspiration for a charity or awareness campaign.

Selzy is just a marketing ESP — we can’t stop the war. But we expressed our solidarity with Ukraine by creating 13 blue and yellow email templates for charity campaigns. You can find them in the Universal section of Templates.

Selzy Stand With Ukraine email templates

We did it so you could set up and send emails a lot faster compared to designing emails from scratch — because every minute counts. If you’re already using Selzy, go ahead and test these templates out for your charity campaign. And if you’re not, we’re always happy to get to know new people and their brands — and help them and your non-profit initiatives grow. You don’t even have to pay anything because we offer a free forever plan with up to 100 contacts in your list and 1,500 emails sent per month. 

Start for free to stand with Ukraine! 💙💛

21 February, 2023
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