Hello everyone! I am Marina and have been working for Coca-Cola Hellenic (the world's second-largest Coca-Cola bottler) for almost 2 years already. I started as a Manager Trainee and now am a regional traditional trade and premium alcohol (everything from Brown-Forman company) specialist. Ask me anything about our brands or their presence in Russia or any other questions about working in this country. Proof!

P.S. Yes, in Soviet Russia Coke drinks you.

P.P.S. Thank you for your questions, dear redditors! I will answer all of them, just give me some time! :)

Comments: 717 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

flatgrape236 karma

Do you have a dash-cam?

Marina_Mandarina159 karma

Nope. But yes, many of Russians do.

lsm430 karma

Is Russia really as crazy as the dash-cams make them seem?

Marina_Mandarina6 karma

Sometimes yes. But mostly depends on city. E.g. my city has veeeery crazy drivers...

CBAFCMV93 karma

In Australia, Coke make a big deal about being the beverage of Summer and being cool (in both temperature and style) and refreshing. This has been very effective and hence they repeat the same process.

Example 1

Example 2

Example3

How does this work in Russia? Do they capitalize on the snow and cold?

Marina_Mandarina15 karma

There 2 main seasons for us, that make the sales volume: New Year and summer. For New Year the most popular and still loved commercial was this one. But this year we had polar bears. In this time of the year we have special campaigns - collect caps and receive a prize. This thing + the holiday itself works. The other season is, of course, summer. Though most people associate Russia with snow, half of the country still has hot summers (I have +40C). So the consumption in summers is very very big. Summer campaings are very important.

stolenbases55 karma

What is the Russian population's general attitude towards Americans? I always hear they don't like the USA. Have you experienced or heard of this? Is it mainly government to government or do their citizens portray this mentality?

Marina_Mandarina117 karma

Well, young people are absolutely open to anything from anywhere. Some older people are of course against American products, though sometimes they use them without noticing where is it from. I think it's more govermental, because from TV we can hear only that "Obama doesn't like Russians. New sanctions announced." In general we are Ok with any people.

Orbnoticas38 karma

"In general we are OK with any people." Unless they are gay... Or not white. Source: I'm Russian. (I am not suggesting either I or OP agree with this, simply stating that the country has an alarming amount of racism and homophobia)

Marina_Mandarina26 karma

That's true. I have 2 gay friends and though my other friends are fine with it, other people often react toо emotional and even cruel...

rblue38 karma

I mean, obviously you aren't sanctioning us here in the U.S., so I get that I think... but I haven't really met too many people who dislike Russia over here. Putin, for sure... But not Russian people. I think during the cold war, we had a fear, but I think a lot of respect, because Russia was a worthy adversary.

Anyway... I'm glad to hear we can still be friends. :)

Marina_Mandarina23 karma

Sure we can :)

paperarmory4 karma

[deleted]

Marina_Mandarina15 karma

When you need some "crazy Russian", PM me :D

SubutaiBahadur52 karma

Are your bottles in cyrillic? Кока Кола?

Marina_Mandarina104 karma

No, "Coca-Cola" must be always written in English. But here's, for example, our bottle during the "Share a Coke" campaign.

ViaggiatoredelMondo28 karma

Isn't CocaCola written in the Arabic alphabet in countries where the writing system is based on the Arabic alphabet?

Marina_Mandarina42 karma

I was talking about Russia. In other countries, especially Arabic, there can be logo in other writing.

SubutaiBahadur15 karma

What determines this? The specific country's laws, or is it market research?

Marina_Mandarina56 karma

The peoples' loyalty to foreign brands and of course laws. Yeah, and also on the ability of citizens to read English.

imranilzar20 karma

Woah! We got "Кока Кола" on the bottles once, maybe 20 years ago in Bulgaria.

SubutaiBahadur9 karma

We never had it in Serbia, but we can use the latin alphabet too. That's why I was wondering about Russia.

Marina_Mandarina22 karma

There were bottles with Cyrillic logo in 80s-90s in Russia, but as soon as Coke got famous enough, it was changed to English one.

Xylotonic12 karma

Interesting... It does not say "Share a Coke", it says "This is your Coca Cola".

Saying "To share a Coke with..." would not require hard to pronounce or unmarketable sentences. Is there an underlying idea behind this? Russian people don't share? Asking as a Marketing student with Russian roots.

Marina_Mandarina5 karma

We wanted to go more personal here. It always interests people more, when you appeal to them personally. So it was decided to choose "This is your Coca-Cola". Also "Share a Coke" was a bit hard to translate so, that everyone will accept it. But we have different..mm..sayings on different bottle sizes. The smallest cans have "CC for him/her/me". Classic cans have nicknames, 0.5l bottles - names + father/sis/bro and so on. Bigger bottles have "CC for party/dacha/friends"

GhostOfWinterfell51 karma

I work for Coca-Cola in America. Do they make you guys sit through those lame company rally videos with pretentious Muhtar Kent extolling his vague visions of the company? Or is that just a North America thing?

Marina_Mandarina53 karma

We don't watch Muhtar Kent, but watch and listen to Stefanos Vafeidis, country GM of Hellenic. But he is a nice and very positive guy.

kevie3drinks43 karma

Is there a big Feud over there with Russian Pepsi?

Marina_Mandarina10 karma

Yes, especially last 2-3 years.

bozobozo37 karma

In Soviet Russia, does Coke drink you?

Hehe! Sorry couldn't resist.

What's your favorite dinosaur?

Marina_Mandarina59 karma

Lol, triceratops

Squid187029 karma

[deleted]

Marina_Mandarina61 karma

Well, for Russia it's very important to inform people that Coke is not a "poison with some black dye". Especially older people often criticize youngers for drinking this kind of beverages. Our "great mission" is to let people know, that this is just a sweet soda, nothing else. Now our new strategy is also to make more Coke consumption with food at home, because home consumption in Russia is still low.

Squid187040 karma

[deleted]

Marina_Mandarina45 karma

We can drink Sprite instead and in fact some people drink it just because of this reason! And Coke is so much associated with black color, that clearness ruins everything :)

w8d2long11 karma

What about a campaign that shows how ingredients were created in the late 1800s. Like a black & white advert that shows the founder of coca cola dabbling with the natural ingredients for creating cola. Maybe this would cater to the older demographic and educate them about black not being poison or dirty.

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

Well, the first recipe of Coke was not very close to modern one. But in spring 2014 we launched TV this campaign to show how the Coke is created.

Salmon_Pants11 karma

It kind of is, though, Soda is pretty bad for you.

gaardyn9 karma

And yet people drink it all the time and are perfectly healthy. All things are bad for you without proper moderation.

Marina_Mandarina6 karma

Absolutely agree!

yankeesfan1326 karma

Who is your favourite Russian goalie and why is it Sergei Bobrovsky?

Marina_Mandarina7 karma

I prefer hockey and support local team.

RammerJammerYlwHamr24 karma

My dad actually designed and built the FreeStyle Machines, as well as the touch screen vending machines. Do you have either of these in Russia? How have they been received?

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

It's a pity we haven't these Machines here, though thinking about it. I love them, a big respect for your dad!

TAcobjobCO23 karma

Do you wear a tracksuit to work?

Marina_Mandarina14 karma

God! No!

tritter21122 karma

Whats your favorite drink other than coca cola?

Marina_Mandarina38 karma

Strawberry Fanta, Dr. Pepper, any Ice Teas, juices...

kingofvodka57 karma

That's quite a coincidence, all the brands you named are owned by the Coca Cola company :)

EDIT: Dr Pepper only owned by Coke in 2 countries, my bad.

Marina_Mandarina40 karma

I used to drink Coca-Cola brands even before I started working here :) Dr.Pepper can't be officially named as ours. And also working here makes you drink what you produce :)

scoyne150 karma

You can juice anything you know. Fruit juices? Vegetable juices? Animal juices? Wood fiber juices?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Orange, tomato, cherry. Also different smoothies.

clockwork_jesus19 karma

Hola, Marina. Cats or dogs?

Marina_Mandarina41 karma

Cats!

MozlTosh19 karma

How is Russian Coke different from American Coke?

Marina_Mandarina48 karma

There's no difference in ingredients. The difference in taste makes water. E.G. Ukrainian or Cambodian Cokes are less sweet than Russian or American.

cp518416 karma

How's the devaluation of the ruble effecting you?

Marina_Mandarina31 karma

For company: our business plans are in US dollars, so after devaluation we have to sell more, to achieve those goals in dollars. For me: foreign products got pretty more expensive, from food to electronics...

worldwarmarvel14 karma

Do you ever get like really tired of soda?

Marina_Mandarina25 karma

Well... Although at work we can drink as much Coke/Sprite/Fanta as we want, usually I drink not more than 1 glass a day. So I can't say I'm tired of it. Yet :)

researchcausescancer10 karma

Do you live in a fancypants hirise condo/apartment in Moscow (or somewhere)? Buying or renting?

Marina_Mandarina21 karma

Originally I am from Sochi (where Winter Olympic Games took place), the very South of Russia, where lived for 17 years. Then I moved to Rostov-on-Don, it's far from Moscow. I rent an appartment, but plan to buy some soon. My app is quite modest.

patchworktablecloth10 karma

Hi Marina!

I have two questions.

1) What demographic in Russia consumes the most Coke and soda?

2) What did you eat for breakfast today? :)

Marina_Mandarina12 karma

Hi! 1) Age 14-30 most, I can say. 2) As I have no time to have breakfasts at home, I usually drink my morning coffee and eat some kind of a bun, while checking my e-mail :)

nikita_barsukov9 karma

How big is company market share in Russia? What are your closest competitors - Pepsi, some local kvas producer?

Marina_Mandarina5 karma

The market share of The Coca-Cola company is great here, because we're not only producing soft-cabonated beverages, but also water, ice tea, we have 3 Juice brands and also a kvass brand. But our kvass is less popular than Pepsi's one. The closest competitor is, of course, Pepsi.

lalala2538 karma

Do they still sell Cola in glass bottles in Russia? I know that they didn't sell it in glass bottle in some parts of the world..

Did Cola in Russia distribute it to other countries as well? or just limited in Russia?

I realize that Russia is huge! In which part of Russia did Cola got consumed most?

Marina_Mandarina17 karma

Yes, we still sell in glass bottles, especially in cafes or restaurants is always used a glass bottle. Here is how it looks. We have lots of plants, almost in each country, so as far as I know, we don't distribute Russian produced Coke somewhere else. Of course, most of beverages, that are better to drink cold, are better sold in southern parts. Our South is very hot in summers, so the consuming volumes are very-very high.

Warpig214977 karma

Are the ingredients that make up Coca-Cola in Russia different than that in the US? Or is the same?

Marina_Mandarina15 karma

The same, no differs. The slight differences in tastes in countries makes water.

kam_mam_ist7 karma

Does Russian coke have krokodil in it?

Marina_Mandarina7 karma

I really love your questions, guys! :)

Coolsacs2 karma

So does it ?

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

A secret hidden one. But don't tell anybody!

EagleTop7 karma

What's pricing like is it a cheap or expensive drink in Russia?

Marina_Mandarina17 karma

It's more expensive than Pepsi, for example. But still not a "premium" beverage. A bit above the avegare.

WolfDemon6 karma

Coke is more expensive than pepsi pretty much everywhere. Which sucks when you work for Coke in a pepsi dominate market. It's the end of the world every time the prices go up

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Yes, many clients begin those endless price talks.

rabid_chiken6 karma

What tool/ thing do you use most at work. That does not have a computer in it?

Marina_Mandarina7 karma

Of course I live with my laptop near me like always. But if not computer-thing...hmm...Then my notebook, where I plan everything or some marketing materials we produce.

Kanuck_Kyle4 karma

This question is important, seriously. Do you guys have a vodka and cola Coca-Cola product in Russia? If not you should patent that shit.

Marina_Mandarina5 karma

We don't mix vodka and Coke normally, so that won't work here.

Kanuck_Kyle3 karma

I'm genuinely impressed that you searched through all of these comments and replied to my shitty question.

Marina_Mandarina7 karma

How could I leave you without an answer!

unigalipo4 karma

What are the main traits of Coke's brand identity?

Marina_Mandarina12 karma

I can say that happiness and sharing it is the most important trait.

Unicron5003 karma

I once heard that Irn Bru (a sweet Scottish form of hydrochloric acid) was extremely popular in Russia. Is this true, and are they a serious competitor?

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

About 10 years ago it was really extremely popular, but now it's almost gone and I can't even remember when I saw a bottle in any store for the last time...

PeachJohn3 karma

Hi Marina!

I'm currently writing a high school paper on viral marketing, with a focus on Coca-Colas #shareacoke campaign. One of the things i'm writing about is what i think Coca-Cola will do next, so my question is:

How do you feel about the increasing presence of companies on Snapchat, and do you see Coca-Cola being on Snapchat soon?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Snapchat isn't popular in Russia at all, so I'm sorry, I can't answer your question...

Starriol3 karma

I never liked coke, until I was 16 (1999) and on the beach here (Argentina) there were a few buses that had a mini cinema.

Basically, they gave you a bottle of coke, you got in, sit down and showed you a few scenes. The last, a guy going to buy a Coke, on a very hot summer day.

The guy opened the coke, was about to drink and a voice at the cinema said "drink your coke now". You did as the guy was gulping delightfully his and cool water was sprinkled on your face as a mist by a machine. Afterwards, the guy on the screen finished with a satisfied " ahhhh!".

What's the deal with that campaign? Do you have any info? I'm amazed by it, because ever since I loved the beverage!

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

That's the great presentation for people that haven't tried Coke. It's hot, you want to drink. What do you want? I guess you'd prefer water. Campaign you participated in helpd you to try something new, to open new refreshment method that really works. The point is that you received Coke at the exact moment when you needed it - hot, thirst, the picture of a person who enjoys something and you want it yoo.

Blackgeesus3 karma

Hi Marina,

Thank you for doing this AMA. I am bilingual in both English and Russian having lived in both Russia and America/UK. Is there any chance coca cola Russia looking for someone with an economics degree with these language preferences to work at their offices in Russia?

Спасибо большое!

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Hi! Sure! I recommend to check out vacancies on hh.ru or on company's web page. If need any additional info, PM me, rady to help!

RealFellow3 karma

Do you know anything about cybersport? Do you know that companies like Monster Energy, RedBull, Axe and even McDonalds are already sponsoring particular esport teams/tournaments? Have you considered moving into esports?

ps http://i.imgur.com/D5qmpOR.jpg - thats the numbers of the biggest CIS esport tournament from mid-2013.

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Hi! Of course I know. Coke Zero is also a sponsor of some tournaments already. Are you Russian, btw?

TeddyGrumps3 karma

Are there any flavours that are exclusive to Russia, like how we have Cherry and Vanilla Coke?

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

We also had Cherry and Vanilla, but about 15 years ago. Now we have only Fanta flavours: Grape, Strawberry and Tangerine. The last one is rather popular in winter!

cdclare19893 karma

What's the formula?

Also, what's your idea of the perfect first date?

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

I don't know it! First date... No cinema, cafe or this kind of stuff. To do something together, like playing something, crafting, I don't know... Or simply walking and chatting :)

xKEPTxMANx2 karma

Is it true that in Mother Russia you don't drink coke, coke drinks you?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Conrats, you're the 10000000 that wrote this joke :)

Narod282 karma

Вау, здрастьте :) Как потребитель ваших продуктов хочу спросить, будет когда нибудь виноградная Фанта?))) Во всем мире есть блин, у нас нету. UPDATE: Погуглил, оказывается продавалась у нас такая, странно что убрали с производства.

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

Привет! Очень странно, что вы ее не застали, она продавалась довольно долго... А вы из какого региона? А вообще у нас планируются сезонные запуски разных вкусов. Виноград возможно вернется, но пока не могу сказать когда.

Narod282 karma

С Новосибирска. У нас тут даже завод свой ваш есть :) Да вот вдруг попробовал вкус импортный такой, толи Корейская газировка была, понравилось, стал искать фанту виноградную, не нашел :( Теперь все хочется.

Кстати всегда удивляло что стеклянные бутылочки везут аж с Москвы, а завод есть прямо в Новосибирске.

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Не на всех заводах есть линии стекла. Объемы не такие большие как у ПЭТ или банок, потому выгоднее производить в больших объемах в Москве и перевозить. На самом деле у фанты, конечно, куча крутых вкусов, в Россию выбирается по одному и очень тщательно, т.к. у нас народ не всегда лояльно в экспериментам относится. А в Австрии, например, пила вот такую Фанту. Отменная!

khairenina2 karma

Hi Marina,

do they tell you what the "secret ingredient" is?

Thanks!

Marina_Mandarina7 karma

Hi! Nope, it's a sssssecret :) We get the syrup and don't know details about it.

veertamizhan3 karma

have you tasted the syrup raw?

Marina_Mandarina5 karma

No, I guess it's tooooo sweet.

oktarinen2 karma

some time ago I learned in Brazil there is a version of Coca Cola that contains stevia-sweetener (kinda the same like Coke Zero but with natural sweetener) I was sorry to hear that the trials led only to Britain not anywhere else in the EU. is there anything planned that the stevia-Coke gets a try on the Russian market?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Have no info on it yet.

Xatana2 karma

My wife is getting a marketing degree right now and is looking for job/internship prospects. Do you have any advice on where or how to get started in the industry?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Check out the web pages of the companies that you are interest in. A lot of them offer internships, after which you can stay on a full pay. As I also started with an internship I can say that's a nice way to start a career. Good luck to your wife!

brandonttech2 karma

I want to be a category manager for coke. What can I do to make this dream come true?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

It depends on your experience. If none of it, start your career on Coke and you'll be able to do that. If yes, look up for vacancies, though it's harder to get into company from the outside. Maybe LinkedIn can help. Good luck!

Pfaffinator2 karma

Do you have a dash cam? And do you get free coke?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

No, I don't have a dash cam. Yes, I can drink Coke, Fanta and Sprite for free. Sometimes we also get free packs of other brands.

smartbrowsering2 karma

How is russia holding up these days? is there talk of war? and does the political alliance between Russia and Chinese filter down into the average Joe on the street?

Marina_Mandarina3 karma

We feel the increasing prices on everything, especially food. Talks about war - always. My city is the closest in Russia to Ukraine, so we have lots of refugees here around. Sorry, didn't catch your last question...

mateuszu2 karma

Did you introduce any regional product under coca cola brand? Like wheat cola? Any potato cola comming?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

We don't play with the Coke brand itself, but have local brands as an independent brands. E.g. Kvass brand, some local juices or energy drinks.

janardansmiles2 karma

What would you rather have, Kvass or Coke?

Also, any change in lifestyle for average Russians since the fall of the Ruble and the sanctions?

BuridansEeyore2 karma

We actually have a Nicola kvass brand with slogan "kvas ne cola, pei nicola"-kvass is not coke, drink nicola.The struggle is real)

Goods became more expensive(even those, which are produced locally with local resources).Even more bullshit on TV than usual.

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

Though I don't like the slogan, but Nicola is a good kvass. The goods are more expensive, agree.

TreesLord1 karma

Когда Путин будет на бутылке с колой? When Putin be on bottle of cola?

Marina_Mandarina2 karma

When he will become the total God of this world, I guess :)

MonsterIt1 karma

Are you Russian? or American? I'm confused right now.

Marina_Mandarina1 karma

I'm Russian

MrAlarming1 karma

How popular is Coke in Russia? Do you sell more in Russia than America?

Marina_Mandarina4 karma

Of course not. America leads in selling Coke, it's their national property somehow :) But still Coke is very popular in Russia, every kid or older people know it. Christmas time is always connected with Coke-commercial, literally everyone waits for it and loves it!

Marina_Mandarina1 karma

What do you mean by "regular basis"? I don't watch TV, so I saw this only on YouTube. Though many people find this song offensive, I find it funny.

karts1120 karma

How are the sanctions effecting coke as a business and a western brand in Russia? First!!!

Marina_Mandarina15 karma

Sanctions are not affecting us as much as a company, because we have 11 plants in Russia and we are a Russian producer. The other thing is people's mind. After all the sanctions of course there are people that do not want "to pay some American brand" and prefer some local beverages. But these people always existed. So I can't say that anything much changed.

_mooz-3 karma

Does coca-cola contain alcohol?

Marina_Mandarina6 karma

No.