Arina Avdeeva
Executive Director and Founder
Friends Moscow


Arina has worked in advertising since 2004. Her career started at Leo Burnett Moscow and continued at THEY Amsterdam, Duval Guillaume Brussels and Friends Moscow, her own agency that has climbed to the 3rd place in the overall rating of creative agencies in Russia last year, and also became the exclusive Russian creative partner for Droga5 New York.
Over the years she has gained extensive experience doing digital, ATL and non-standard projects in Russian and European markets, for domestic and global clients.
She has won more than 200 awards at domestic and international advertising festivals, including Cannes Lions, One Show, Golden Drum, Golden Hammer, Eurobest, Epica, ADCR, Red Apple, IDEA, KIAF, and White Square and has been a jury member at One Show, Clio, Golden Drum, LIAF, Red Apple, ADCR, White Square, IDEA festivals.

Arina also created, and still curates, the MADS concepting course – which has gathered renown in the industry in Russia and – inspirational engine for creative thinkers.

-You have lived abroad and went back to Russia to create your own agency. What differences did you find about working in other countries compared to Russia?

I guess you could compare this and that, but it’s sort of like comparing one nation to another. I prefer to stick to the notion that people are what’s important, and people are people everywhere: good or bad, regardless of nationality. Some agencies are competent, others less so, it’s the same with clients. I went back to Russia because there were people (a team, my partners), like-minded people that I was ready to climb any mountain with.

If I had to define any sort of difference, it would be in the average quality of projects, and their sheer number. Russia still plays catch-up in many respects — but it presents an excellent challenge.

-Regarding your creative leadership, how do you think you can get the best out of a creative team? What tips or methods do you use to encourage the people that you work with?

Just recently I’ve been thinking about it; I even compiled my leadership brand template. I attended a course for “creative leadership” when I went off maternity leave, and I’ve decided to change some things around, and to simply formulate others, to spell them out and put them in order. The experience of being a mother has added a lot to my leadership skills. How to get the best out of my team? I think a lot of things from the psychology of child rearing applies here. The most useful tip is: “Don’t try and raise your children, they will turn out like you anyways. Raise yourself”. That’s what I’m trying to do

-You’ve won many awards with different campaigns. Is there one campaign that’s your favourite or special one? Which one and can you tell us about how the idea was conceived?

I have a lot of love for many of our campaigns. Each year, there’s a favorite. But if we’re talking award winners, I guess it’d be the Alive Memory project done with Google. We created an online archive for frontline letters from the Great Patriotic War.

-What projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?

One that wasn’t made for a client, but is our own project – a service named Pixride. We call it an “inspiration engine”. Pixride gives you a steady stream of images which are collected from art and design websites, like a moodboard. We call this stream a “ride”, you can stop and rewind it, use a searchword or a tag, or you can “ride” your own Pinterest, or take a completely random ride. It works like a quick “boost” of inspiration for visual thinkers, without the need to click and scroll, or deal with clutter.

-Have you thought about what you want your legacy to be? Or how you would like people to remember you?

To be honest, I have no such ambitions. What’s important to me is to stay in the hearts of like-minded people, not on everyone’s lips. But if I had to choose, I’d like to be remembered as a person who knew how to soak up knowledge, learning from everything that surrounds them, and learning constantly, improving oneself, elevating oneself as an individual.

-Do you have a favourite quote/slogan/motto?

Do what you must, come what may.

Gerety Awards

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