Counterstrike of the Free Press

Independent journalism to Russian citizens

Counter Strike of the Free Press is a marketing and PR campaign that highlighted the core purpose of Helsingin Sanomat (Freedom of the press) while simultaneously engaging with a hard to reach target audience, under 40 yo men.

Advertising Design & experience PR and media relations Video production and photography

Client: Helsingin Sanomat


Insight highlights

  1. Russia had silenced over 100 independent medias

    After launching a full-scale invasion in Ukraine, Russia had silenced all western independent medias, including Helsingin Sanomat.

  2. We used Counter-Strike as a medium

    Counter-Strike has a large following in Russia with over 4 million players. Over 30% of Helsingin Sanomat’s key growth segment is interested in video games.

  3. Torille!

    The Finns wake up after the rest of the world is getting excited about what we are doing. After that we had to reflect that glorification back to our target audience.


Distributing independent information has been the core mission for Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest daily newspaper in the Nordics, since it was founded in 1889.

We decided to utilize the popular game Counter-Strike to address a global societal issue: the lack of independent information about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine reaching Russian citizens.

We brought the independent journalism of Helsingin Sanomat to Russian citizens through Counter-Strike in a room hidden into the game and promoted it through PR and advertising. 

The map was released on the International Day of Free Press and immediately received worldwide media coverage and attention (including the New York Times, BBC, Guardian, Fast Company, Reuters, AFP, PC Gamer, IGN…) and most importantly, also in Russia.


Miltton built a map of a war-torn Slavic city in Counter-Strike. A secret room was constructed within the map, where Russian players could face the realities of the war and find information in Russian, relayed by HS’s war correspondents in Ukraine.

The campaign utilized Counter-Strike to bypass Russia’s efforts of online censorship, aiming to spread information on the Ukraine war to Russian gamers through a loophole – the world of online games – in Russia’s information firewall.

The hidden room

The hidden room contained independent journalism in text and audio in English and Russian.


  1. The map became a hit

    #1 trending map in CS:GO with 50,000+ downloads and 4,850 five-star ratings for the map.

  2. Potential reach of 3.9 billion

    Over 900 news articles in 66 different countries, including several in Russian media.

  3. Recommendations +135%

    Among men under 40 yo, recommendations for HS increased by +135% compared to the annual average.

Miltton’s input

  • Concept and idea
  • Insights and strategy
  • Productions
  • Keyvisual
  • Advertising campaign
  • PR

Want to hear more? Contact us