Blog: Olly WehringRussia says Coke fridges aren’t cool

Olly Wehring | 21 December 2007

Coca-Cola has been accused of being sacrilegious after its marketing campaign riled a group of Russian Orthodox churchgoers.

The soft drinks company said on Wednesday (19 December) that its campaign, which showed the cross and onion-shaped church domes on outdoor refrigerators, was not meant to offend anyone and there are no plans to remove the promotion.

A complaint, lodged in the city Nizhny Novgorod, claimed that townsfolk had taken offence to the religious image inside a picture of a large Coke bottle on the side of cold drinks machines.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor said: “On 11 December, the prosecutor’s office received an appeal signed by 440 citizens of Nizhny Novgorod against Coca-Cola, saying that in the actions of the company there is a blasphemy against the sacrosanct Russian holy icons.”

An announcement as to whether the situation will be made into a legal case will be made by the prosecutors on 12 January pending a formal investigation.

The bottler, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co, which was responsible for the marketing initiative intends to continue the campaign, adding: “We didn’t want to offend someone or hurt their feelings, we just wanted to popularise Russian culture and let people know more about Russia’s heritage. We used this picture in St Petersburg, Ufa and Kazan and it was fine in these cities.”


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