Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in late February, countless organizations and businesses have released statements of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. But five months into the conflict, war fatigue has begun to creep in.

Like many healthcare-first organizations, HCB Health wanted to call attention to the conflict and support the millions of people impacted by it. But the agency hoped to do so in a way that didn’t echo the myriad “standing with Ukraine” hashtags.

Instead, it chose to highlight the country’s frontline healthcare workers. As part of a partnership with Ukrainian agency Provid, HCB Health has launched a campaign designed to raise funds for healthcare workers in the war zone.

“We’re inundated with bombs, buildings blown up and people killed, all those horrific things about this war,” explained HCB CEO and founder Kerry Hilton. “So we wanted to make an impact that would be different. We thought about the other warriors in the frontline of this war – the healthcare workers, the medics, the people who are saving lives while lives are being destroyed.”

The effort doubles as a fundraising option. “Not everyone wants to give money for more bombs, more planes or more bullets, but people will support a cause to save lives,” Hilton added.

Digital billboards have been translated into a variety of languages and are running in cities around the world, including Kyiv, Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow, Florence, Venice and Milan.

To ensure the campaign’s effectiveness and authenticity, HCB tapped Provid managing director Yuri Duma and creative director Vlad Galyapa to better understand the needs of Ukrainian people. Zooming from their apartments in Kyiv, Duma and Galyapa offered insights about the approaches that would most benefit Ukrainians.

The first takeaway was that healthcare workers were overlooked, according to HCB chief creative officer Francesco Lucarelli. Another, Duma and Galyapa emphasized, was that the effort shouldn’t feature additional gruesome images of killed civilians.

“As we started to develop the creative, they shared the idea that they didn’t want to continue to show the stark, grisly, drastic images,” Lucatelli said. “They were like, ‘That is not a positive thing. We want to deal with this in a much more factual manner and take out the gore and shock elements.’”

The HCB/Provid team hoped to feature real stories from frontline healthcare workers – which, ultimately, inspired the central idea of Ukraine’s current “warregular” circumstances.

“We want people to donate to help Ukrainian medics keep performing regular duties in these circumstances,” Hilton said. “‘Warregular’ means that things that were once very irregular are now becoming more commonplace in this war zone.”

They chose to go the route of digital billboards, adorned with messages such as “under heavy rocket shelling a young medic helped a woman on the city street.” A QR code directed people to the Ukrainian Freedom Fund.

The billboards have been translated into a variety of languages and are running in cities around the world, including Kyiv, Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow, Florence, Venice and Milan. The campaign was recently extended to locations across Canada.

The digital billboards are just the beginning, with the campaign likely to expand into the video realm before too long.

“There are other stories that we want to tell,” Hilton said. “By getting this in the marketplace, we think more stories will come forward. It’s a challenge doing something like that in a war zone, so we’re searching for other talented, creative people who are willing to help us expand these stories.”