Sunflowers of Hope project seeks to create “library of emotional messages” for Ukraine

Sunflowers of Hope is the name of a new project launched in cooperation with Prague City Hall and the city’s Ukrainian Embassy. Using Ukraine’s national flower as a symbol, it seeks to combine financial donations with messages of emotional support. The project is the brainchild of the Czech branch of global advertising agency Dentsu. I asked the company’s creative director for Czechia, Troy Palmer, how exactly it works.

“We looked at the bigger picture. With the invasion of Ukraine, one of the big focuses is to eradicate Ukrainian culture from the map. For example, by destroying landmarks, churches or any other symbols of the country, because their intention is to take over that region. So we thought that we could support one of Ukraine’s icons and make an idea out of that.

“The Ukrainian flag symbolises the blue of the sky and the yellow is a crop. That means either sunflowers, as we used in our idea, or wheat. The sunflower is the international flower of Ukraine, but it is also being used as a symbol in protests around the world. For example, in Boston, women are wearing sunflower wreaths around their head. So this was a major reason for us to use sunflowers.”

Photo: Wilfried Pohnke,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

“Our big focus is on emotional support. The way our project works is that we have some outdoor billboards around the city [with the necessary donation details]. You can donate and this donation then becomes a flower, which grows in front of you. This flower connects to a webpage where you can view all of the other flowers symbolising the donations and associated messages. So it is a kind of library of emotional messages.”

The project was started with the help of the Ukrainian Embassy and Prague City Hall. How are they contributing?

“We formulated a quite detailed idea and then asked the Ukrainian Embassy how we could further help them, or work together to be as effective as possible. From that point on they helped us by providing connections to other people that they are working with. Along with that, the Council of Prague City Hall became involved and gave us permission and space to put up our interactive billboards, which are the basis of our campaign.

And those billboards work on the principle of having a QR code that is scanned by your phone. Is that correct?

“Yes. You use your phone to connect with a QR code. Your message and your donation form a seed, which grows into a flower that can be seen on the website and can be accessed later.”

Photo: geralt,  Pixabay,  CC0 1.0 DEED

I understand that this is a month-long pilot ahead of a larger project. What do you plan to do if Sunflowers of Hope is successful and how will you measure its success?

“The donation is definitely a measure of success in terms of how much we can raise. However, more important to us is the secondary benefit, which is the collection of messages. In the second phase we would like to involve our offices around the world, so that will become a global project.

“The idea is that, after we have collected these messages, there will be a very large interactive billboard in Kyiv where Ukrainian people will be able to access these messages. It will be possible for them to collect emotional support from the messages that are being collected globally on our website.”

More information about the project can be found on the website:

run audio