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Roll Over, Lenin: The Cola Wars Hit Russia


Up Front

ROLL OVER, LENIN: THE COLA WARS HIT RUSSIA

In Russia, the cold war is over, but the Cola Wars are heating up. Coca-Cola opened its first wholly owned factory on Apr. 25, outside Moscow--part of a come-from-behind fight against PepsiCo for this huge market. Pepsi, the largest non-Russian soda marketer, began bottling there in 1974 and now controls almost an 11% share. Coke products, which started a big push only in 1991, have 5% to 7%.

Pepsi is handicapped by its links to the Soviet past. And Coke's aggressive ad campaign has won over Russia's young business types, says a poll by Roper Starch Worldwide. Pepsi is fighting back by boosting Russian production and running Pepsi Generation-style ads. Pepsi also scored with young consumers by sponsoring a Michael Jackson concert in Moscow last fall--although Coke guerrillas handed out Coca-Cola flags at the entrances.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT AND JULIE TILSNER Patricia Kranz


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