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If the Soviet People Buy Everything They See in American Advertising, P. T. Barnum Was Right

July 10, 1988

Regarding the June 26 story on strategies for marketing Pepsi in the Soviet Union ("Pepsi Push Into Soviet Union a Textbook Case in Marketing"):

If the Russians are suckers enough to spend their hard-earned rubles on empty calories instead of fruit juice, mineral water, milk, wine or beer, it only proves, as P. T. Barnum said, there's one born every day.

It's too bad that Soviet viewers, so starved for abundance, beauty and variety of consumer goods, may eagerly embrace glitzy American-style ads in the naive belief that those products will make them instant Americans. How sad that Soviet TV may be invaded by (at best deceptive, at worst outright criminal) commercials illogically linking the most unlikely products to health, youth, sexuality and athletic prowess.

Broadcaster Vladimir Posner reports that many Soviet viewers were amazed by the "creativity and artistry" of American commercials. "Our ads," he continued, "generally say: 'Here's a product, here's what it does and here's where you can buy it if you want.' "

Sounds good to me. Just give me the facts.

SARA MERIC

Santa Monica

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