Ukrainians have expressed outrage after a Coca-Cola ad on a Russian social media website featured Crimea on the Russian map. The American business, though, claims a marketing agency changed the map without permission.
“The Coca-Cola Russia team had a stylized map of Russia created as part of its Christmas campaign. The agency that created the map later made changes without our knowledge or approval,” stated the company. “We, as a company, do not take political positions unrelated to our business, and we apologize for the post, which we have removed.”
This is the first image Coca-Cola used:
— Meduza Project (@meduza_en) January 5, 2016
Russians protested because they did not include Crimea, the Kaliningrad region, or the Kuril Islands, which Japan claims belongs to them.
This is the new picture:
— David Capie (@davidcapie) January 6, 2016
Russians celebrated the appearance of Crimea on the map.
“One of the biggest U.S. companies, Coca-Cola, has officially recognized Crimea as Russian,” said Sergei Kolyasnikov. “It’s quite logical that U.S. business is more impartial about geopolitics than the corrupt U.S. officials. A global victory starts with steps such as the recognition of Russia’s actions by the biggest U.S. companies.”
Russia invaded and colonized Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, but only a few countries recognize the annexation. The U.S. and EU responded with numerous economic sanctions against Russia.
Legislator Mustafa Nyyem encouraged Ukrainians to boycott Coca-Cola products.
Ukrainians have responded with #BanCocaCola hashtag on Twitter.
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) January 5, 2016
— Отряд Зины Портновой (@portnovaz_team) January 5, 2016
Politician Oleh Lyashko said he will never drink another product again. On the picture, the word “Betrayal” is on the truck instead of Coca-Cola.
The Ukrainian embassy “had expressed its concerns” to the company and the State Department.
“The Embassy emphasized that Coca-Cola’s actions violate the official U.S. position condemning Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, which is and has always been an integral part of Ukraine,” stated officials.
The U.S. embassy in Ukraine also concerned the map.
“Coca-Cola’s actions violate the official US position condemning Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, which is and has always been an integral part of Ukraine,” they said.
Google has also experienced snags that caused embarrassment due to tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Users of Google Translate noticed from Russian to Ukrainian the “Russian Federation” changed to “Mordor,” a region in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The evil Sauron controls Mordor, but he wishes to retain his ring to control all of Middle Earth.
The service also translated “Russians” to “occupiers.”