Publicis tells folk tale for Coca-Cola’s Russian debut

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.

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

Mafia.



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

mile.’