Coca-Cola, the brand synonymous with US capitalism, is using
advertising tailor-made in the UK to establish itself in the potentially
massive Russian market.
The Publicis agency in London has produced a series of commercials to
run nationally on Russian TV, marking a major departure from Coke’s
usual ’fun in the sun’ global creative work.
Instead, the five 60-second commercials, shot by the British director,
Paul Weiland in and around Moscow, are updated segments of the Firebird,
a Russian folk tale, with the theme, ’drink the legend’.
The campaign was flagged in a ’teaser’ to the huge Russian audience that
tuned in to President Yeltsin’s new year broadcast and the ads - made at
a reported production cost of between dollars 2 and dollars 3 million -
will run in sequence for a month at a time.
Shot in feature-film style in the depths of the Russian winter, the folk
tale becomes an allegory of life in a country undergoing enormous social
change after the collapse of communism. The narrator, a young
leather-jacketed Russian, tells his story while travelling on the Moscow
subway as his jealous brothers draw comparisons with the Russian
The campaign is the result of research carried out by Publicis in Moscow
and time spent in Russia by the writer, James Burrows, and his art
director, Seb Bishop. Russian creatives also went over to the London
agency to ensure the advertising’s authenticity.
Gerry Moira, the executive creative director of Publicis, who oversaw
the shoot, said: ’It’s not that Coke advertising is disliked by Russians
- but it isn’t Russian. Coke will reap the rewards by going the extra