Getting Russians to Listen
November 26, 2007 4:11 AM   Subscribe

In the context of advertising and marketing in Russia, who are the opinion leaders and influencers for the 18 to 35 year old demographic?

Who do Russians admire? Who is the cool of the cool? Specific reference to effective marketing campaigns in Russia would be awesome.
posted by PoopyDoop to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Andrei Lugovoi?
posted by zemblamatic at 4:41 AM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: I should probably mention it's for the marketing of brand name condoms in a country (Russia) where HIV infection is near epidemic proportions and the people are either wary of Western contraceptive manufacturers or don't believe HIV exists at all.

I'm thinking that opinion leaders and influencers could initiate a viral/word of mouth campaign to communicate the message, but I need names.
posted by PoopyDoop at 5:46 AM on November 26, 2007

"Russians" are not wary of Western contraceptives, and there are plenty of Russian-branded condoms available that meet or exceed the quality of what is available in the US.

Your headline "Getting Russians to Listen" is about as awful as they come, condescending and preachy, especially when you're really talking about marketing.

Simply marketing some Western brand in Russia is not going to stem the AIDS crisis there, and thinking it will or presenting it as though it will is wrong.

If you really care about AIDS in Russia, get involved with USAID or some other institution which is working to stem it. Thinking that you can just approach a young, hip "opinion leader and influencer" with a Western dick wrapper pitch is pretty foolhardy.

Just because you're a Westerner, Mr(s). PoopyDoop, doesn't intrinsically make you better informed, more capable, or even interesting to them, much less able to influence them. In fact, if you go and spend time there, as I did, you may find that your ability to "influence" the opinions of foreigners in general is limited at best, and further, that having that as a prime directive is a wretched idea.
posted by fake at 6:48 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Opinion noted fake.
posted by PoopyDoop at 7:07 AM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: "Russians" are not wary of Western contraceptives, and there are plenty of Russian-branded condoms available that meet or exceed the quality of what is available in the US."

Wait a sec. On second thought, I better clear this particular statement up, because I can't let you perpetuate misinformation.

According to AIDSMark, an AIDS-prevention organization which is funded by USAID and managed by Population Services International (PSI), the Russian condom market is small, but crowded with low. quality brands [pdf]. According to the article I linked to previously, many Russian groups are indeed wary of Western contraceptives.


"Meanwhile, Moscow's city council called in April for a ban on foreign anti-Aids campaigners working in Russia and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has accused Western organisations of promoting "beliefs and stereotypes alien to Russian culture" in the interests of Western contraceptive manufacturers."


Near Red Square in Moscow, Ilya Vasilev, 31, a computer specialist who was handing out Marxist literature to passers by, condemned talk of Aids as a conspiracy designed to undermine his country. "Aids is a genocidal weapon devised by the US to destroy family love and trust. If people are afraid of Aids they will not make love. Nations will disappear," he said. As long as Mr Vasilev and his comrades hold such views, Russia's future - and Europe's - is at serious risk.

So basically, what I'm saying to you is that your opinion has been noted, as deemed as misinformed and useless.
posted by PoopyDoop at 7:39 AM on November 26, 2007

Do an academic journal search for "health campaign" and Russia and you'll find a lot of material not on why "Russians won't listen" but why health campaigns need to be tailored to a culture.
posted by k8t at 8:06 AM on November 26, 2007

I actually agree with most of what fake says, though the tone's a little unnecessarily harsh - except the part about USAID, which in most places, including Russia, is a great way to get an introduction to the morass of international development bureaucracy and self-serving relationships with government contractors, but unlikely to be in touch with anyone young and hip. Some of their implementers, like Population Services Intl, have good reputations, but most development people I know consider USAID a necessary evil for funding rather than the source of useful knowledge.

And, again discounting the harsh tone, fake's right that you would almost by definition want to avoid sounding condescending and preachy and do want to pay attention to sounding like the culture. Your rebuttal cites two quesitnoable sources: a guy handing out nationalist/soviet literature and the orthodox church, which would be like citing Ron Paul and Jerry Falwell as your sources for informatnoi about people's sex lives. Interesting data points perhaps, but hardly definitive.

Who do young russians admire and listen to? Same as their peers anywhere, would be my guess -- sports heroes and rock stars, mostly. There's plenty of reputable "sociological" firms there that'll do the polls and focus groups for a definitive answer.

However, VVP probably has a lot more street creed there than GWB does here. Maybe he'd consider being your spokesman if he ever steps down from power?
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 10:57 AM on November 26, 2007

Best answer: I apologize for the harsh tone. It was a reaction to the tone of this question and PoopyDoop's comments on Russia elsewhere, which I feel were uninformed, combative, and hyperbolic. I stand by my opinion, especially in light of the evidence offered and the condescending response.

K8 has the best answer here, but here's one more that might get you searching in the right direction. Most people in your desired age bracket know: Artemy Lebedev. Still, it is more than a little difficult to imagine him being driven in the manner you suggest.
posted by fake at 1:47 PM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: fake, don't worry about it. I know my wording was off and definitely sounded incendiary. I apologise to you also.

You've got a great website by the way. Lot's of good stuff there (and thanks for your input).
posted by PoopyDoop at 2:59 PM on November 26, 2007

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