Last week we met with Emma Beckmann, Country Director of Landor Moscow in their cozy office on Tsvetnoy Boulevard to talk about the results of their first year in Russia. In the interview, she discusses how the creative industry has changed over the 20 years that she’s been in this business across different geographical markets, kindly shares her view on the Russian bureaucracy and ways to tackle it, reveals her personal client wishlist, and gives valuable cultural advice to international agencies looking to enter the Russian market.

Mr. Simon Bolton, a silver-haired noble English gentleman, who dedicated a few decades of his life to the advertising industry, met with us on a chilly Tuesday morning earlier this week to talk about TBU’s business plans in Moscow, to discuss opportunities and threats from the latest Publicis-Omnicom merger for WPP, and to share his vision of a sustainable brand.

Doodle 4 Google, an international creative contest for young artists to create their own Google doodles, this year was hosted in Russia for the first time. While the company’s headquarter chose a futuristic topic for the 2012 event («If I could travel in time, I’d visit…»), Google Russia gave the contest a rather patriotic twist having devoted it to the Russian authentic culture and history («My city. My country»). As it was announced yesterday, Pyotr Alekseyev, an 8-year-old schoolboy from Belgorod, named the winner.

This month sees the two biggest Russian financial companies — VTB Group and BinBank — to launch their new retail banking brands on the local market. While VTB’s Leto Bank is seen as a future leader of the mass retail lending with a developed chain of offices, Elixir has recently started operating in Moscow and St Petersburg as a virtual financial branch issuing credit cards for individuals online.