Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Daria Launches Ads Spoofing Western Logos




It might seem that hi-tech and fashion have little to do with meat dumplings, but that hasn't stopped St. Petersburg food-processing company Daria from adapting the corporate logos of Intel and Benetton to plug its products.


At least one of the spoofed companies, Intel, is unamused by the cheeky humor and is considering legal action.


Poking fun at Western marketing campaigns, Daria has put up billboards around Moscow and St. Petersburg that show pictures of its frozen pelmeni (the Siberian version of the common meat dumpling), pirozhki (pies), and chebureki (meat pastries), alongside the doctored corporate logos of well-known foreign brands.


"It's a humorous way for us to tell people that our pelmeni contain genuine meat and come in different, colorful varieties," said Mikhail Gorbuntsov, advertising manager for Daria in St. Petersburg.


The familiar Intel logo, used by the U.S.-based hi-tech manufacturer to inform consumers that the computers they are buying contain its Pentium processing chip, is used here to inform consumers that Daria's pelmeni and chebureki contain meat, never a given in Russia.


Likewise, the multi-colored frozen-food packs are advertised with the green Benetton label, which reads "United Colors of Daria."


Keeping with the times, the company also lists its Internet address, www.pelmeni.ru, on the same billboards.


A survey of the company's web site reveals an online poll where visitors can vote for their favorite Daria product. This month's leader: Daria Sweetheart Pelmeni with 55 of a modest 251 votes cast.


The low response might seem an indication that the ad campaign, which is using 300 billboards in Moscow and 150 in St. Petersburg, has not attracted as much attention as its creators intended. However, early indications are that it has at least caught the attention of one of the Western firms whose modified logos were used on the billboards.


"We are not pleased," said Svetlana Alimova, a spokeswoman for Intel Technologies in Moscow. "We consider it a case of trademark infringement and we've already submitted all the necessary papers to our legal department."


Representatives of Intel's European headquarters in Munich said the company had passed the documents on to the U.S. headquarters only on Friday and had no immediate plans to sue, although that had not been ruled out.


Alimova said that Intel had had trademark problems before in Russia, but admitted this was the first time she can remember a pelmeni manufacturer being involved in an alleged infringement.


Gorbuntsov said the possibility of being sued by the U.S. electronics giant does not worry him.


"We checked it out with our legal department before we ran the ads," he said, adding that because the logo indicates the presence of meat, not computer chips, in Daria's pelmeni, the company did not break any copyright laws.


"If they want to sue us for telling the truth, that there is meat inside our pelmeni, then let them," he said.


Benetton officials at the company's Italian headquarters said they had not heard of the Moscow ad campaign, but would investigate.


Legal issues aside, the campaign has left some advertising experts wondering how effective it will be in selling frozen pelmeni.


"If they are trying to achieve a sense of differentiation, to stand out so their product is something more than just meat dumplings, I think they've succeeded," said Adam Payne, a professor of marketing at the American Institute of Business and Economics.


"However, with these kinds of over-the-top ads, it does not always translate into people thinking, 'that's my product,' when they walk into a store," he added. "Basically, it's probably middle-aged women who buy pelmeni, so you have to ask whether this will make an impression on them."


Gorbuntsov, in St. Petersburg, said that initial reaction had been positive, although the ad campaign had not been running long enough to have a noticeable impact on sales.


"You can only sell so many pelmeni each day, so it's not like one advertising campaign will suddenly produce a huge increase in sales," he said.


He added that production levels were gradually being increased at the St. Petersburg factory, which was opened in 1997, to its daily capacity of 100 tons.