Coca-Cola provokes Russian and Ukrainian fury with social media Crimea blunder

By John Glenday | Reporter

January 6, 2016 | 2 min read

An apparently innocuous New Year message issued by Coca-Cola has left consumers in Ukraine and Russia seeing red following the decision to first include the disputed territory of Crimea before erasing it.

Russia annexed the peninsula in March 2014 at the height of a proxy war with the Ukraine, a move which has been at the heart of simmering local and international tensions ever since.

It was into this morass that Coca-Cola unwittingly tread with their Russian New Year’s message published on VK, the largest social network in Russia, after it opted to erase the territory.

Following a backlash from nationalists Coca-Cola hastily redrew the map to include the disputed territory; adding in the disputed Kuril Islands in the Pacific which are also claimed by Japan for good measure.

Needless to say this about turn was not welcomed in Ukraine however, where calls for a boycott of the soft drink were swift.

In light of the blunders Coca-Cola has opted to drop the disputed message entirely, with the Ukrainian subsidiary of the drinks brand stating: “Dear friends! Thank you for your attention. It has been decided to delete the item which caused the upset.”

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +