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Mikhail Piotrovsky took part in an online conference on “Big brands and art. A love marriage or one of convenience?”

Published 22 December 2020

On 22 December 2020, an online press conference was held on the platform under the title “Big brands and art. A love marriage or one of convenience?” and devoted to the announcement of the partnership between the State Hermitage and Proctor & Gamble – the launch of the joint programme “The Hermitage Next to You” intended to bring art into every home and to make it closer and more accessible to each person.

The programme of collaboration envisages using the cutting-edge experience of the Hermitage, as one of the world’s foremost museums, and of Proctor & Gamble, one of the global leaders in manufacturing products under legendary brand names, and includes the implementation in the period 2020–22 of social and cultural-educational initiatives directed at as broad a public as possible. An important part of the programme will be support and development of the State Hermitage’s Lecture Hall in a new online format.

Participating in the conference were Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage; Sotirios Marinidis, General Manager for Eastern Europe at Procter & Gamble; Yulia Pankratova, a Russian journalist, presenter on the Russia-K television channel and of the blog OhMyArt; and Kirill Didenok, digital producer and head of the Didenok Team celebrity agency for work with leading bloggers. The moderator was Yelena Tikhonova, a presenter on the RBC television channel.

The participants discussed current issues and formats for interacting with an audience in order to popularize art, and they also spoke about how collaborations with various brands are making art accessible, how to deliver art through brands and how to hold onto one’s audience under the present conditions.

In his speech, Mikhail Piotrovsky spoke about developments in the museum world, contemporary criteria for evaluating the success of museums, how the Hermitage tackles questions of interaction with its audience, about the museum’s strong presence in social networks, when Hermitage Online broadcasts have been viewed by over 70 million people, and also about pressing social and economic issues and the monetization of services: “One of the most important tasks we solved during the pandemic was interacting with our visitors through working online. When going to a museum is frightening or impossible, new formats of online interaction come to the rescue. The State Hermitage Lecture Hall is now moving to a virtual format. Its further development raises the question of funding. The brilliant project with Procter & Gamble is aimed at achieving an important social result – making a paid service free of charge. A museum is a luxury. So, we need to make that luxury available to everyone and to make it clear thanks to whom it is available. Procter & Gamble will be making the lectures available to 10,000 people. Another example of collaboration is a series of gift sets featuring pictures from the Hermitage collection. We discussed for a long time and carefully selected the paintings, which, when people encounter them in their everyday lives, will educate the eye and taste".

Sotirios Marinidis highlighted the important role of social responsibility for business and of collaboration with the State Hermitage, the willingness of business to open up their channels of communication with their audience to museums, the importance of choosing partners for strategically successful cultural and educational cooperation and orientation on consumer needs in the pandemic: “Our partnership with the State Hermitage reinforces in a concrete manner the company’s strategy of being a force for positive changes. That striving extends to various aspects of social responsibility, among which the accessibility of the world’s cultural heritage to a broad public occupies an important place.”

Responding to the moderator’s questions, the journalist Yulia Pankratova noted that the during the period of isolation the tastes of viewers and users of the social media have changed,. There has been a rise of interest in culture and art, while cultural institutions themselves embarked on an active search for new approaches in their interaction with their audience.

Kirill Didenok shared his experience of working in the blogosphere. He spoke about how bloggers can help business and museums in the realization of their social mission, how prominent bloggers interact with major brands, how to make collaboration productive, about successful collaborations and cultural interaction.

A recording of the conference is available from