Apr 18, 2010

Greatest Space Ads - Yava Gold Strikes Back for Russia

After the fall of the communist system in the Soviet Union, Russian consumers were suffering an 'invasion' of higher quality western products marketed with slick modern advertising, a new phenomenon in Russia. Local brands were in rapid decline and profits were rapidly disappearing to the West. Then in 1998 the newly launched Yava Gold cigarette brand decided to 'strike back' by launching an ad campaign that brought back national pride to Russian consumers.

The ad pictured was part of the campaign. It shows a patriotic Russian cosmonaut painting the Yava Gold logo on the US Space Shuttle. The text at the bottom of the image reads "retaliatory strike".

In the 1990s Russian space missions were frequently being used as advertising platform for western brands (many of which are reported in earlier posts on this blog). Having cashed-up foreign brands using your nation's space hardware and cosmonauts as advertising billboards must have been quite humiliating to Russia's national psyche - a nation's space program is major symbol of pride after all!

"Yava" was the oldest cigarette brand in Russia and the "Yava Gold" brand was built upon that strong heritage. Ironically however, the financing for the development of the new brand actually came from British American Tobacco. In that era tobacco companies were finding it harder and harder to make profits in the west due to the heavy restrictions being placed on advertising as well as high taxes. Russia, the world's fourth largest tobacco market, was an ideal region of growth, and British American was quick to seize the opportunity in this formerly closed market.

This video is a documentary about the Yava Gold campaign.


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