Coca-Cola’s major pan-European distributor, the Athens-based Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co, has begun removing religious images from hundreds of chilled vending units in Russia, after protests from a group of Russian Orthodox believers in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, 400km from Moscow.
The complaints centred on pictures of an Orthodox cross and onion-shaped church domes on the vending machines. Initially, Coca-Cola Hellenic said it had no plans to drop the images, noting that there had been no complaints in other Russian cities. Now, however, the company has retreated.
“I would assure people that we used these images to promote Russian culture and not to offend anybody’s feelings,” said a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Hellenic. “This incident in Nizhny Novgorod is regrettable.
“We are strictly adhering to our principles of ethical marketing, which means we are taking into consideration local community demands. We took the decision to remove the image of the church.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019