Brands join fight against Russia over Ukraine invasion

By Felicia Nwosu

Strong reactions have continued to trail Russian attacks on Ukraine, which has generated some ripple effects across global brands that joined the war by getting off the shelves and halting their services in solidarity and sympathy with Ukraine.

In addition to the imposition of various sanctions such as ejection from most international sporting events, air travel restrictions and severed ties, brands are standing up to what they consider as impunity and highhandedness by distancing themselves from anything Russia.

What’s more, renowned Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the largest gathering in the creative marketing community, has cut off Russia from its global award scheme, meaning agencies and brands from President Putin’s Russia will no longer be eligible for a trophy in 2022. Russian delegates will also be banned from attending the festival.

“We stand together with our friends in Ukraine—and our many partners and community members in Russia who strongly oppose the actions of the Russian Government,” Lions organizers said in a statement.

“Despite our desire to celebrate creativity from wherever it comes, we have made the decision not to accept submissions or delegations from Russian organizations into Cannes Lions or its associated awards programmes We will welcome free of charge any and all Ukraine creatives who are able to attend Cannes Lions. Refunds on awards submissions for Ukraine agencies will also be honoured,” the statement added.

This reprisal has hit negatively on the world’s most powerful leather game, football, as ManUtd is ready to end a sponsorship deal worth £40m as its major sponsor since 2013, Aeroflot airline, has been banned from operating in the UK amid sanctions on Russia. Aeroflot is the national airline of Russia and flies to 146 destinations across 52 countries but a ban has been placed on all Aeroflot flights within the UK both entering and exiting the nation.

The Ukraine war has also tested the power of tech giants. Many American brands including Apple, Google, Ford and Harley-Davidson, have stopped their sales in Russia. The sanctions by the US have created a situation where brands have taken a step back, not minding the effect on their loyal customers in Ukraine or Russia.

Brands are also pledging cash and action to help besieged Ukraine. Among them is Ikea, which closed all operations in Russia and donated $22 million for humanitarian assistance and Netflix, which pulled the plug on state broadcasts from the Kremlin.

There is equally a steep increase in prices of products and disruption of supplies as the crisis continues to rear its ugly head against consumers. Beer companies are on tenterhooks as there could be a steep increase in prices of barley and disruption of supplies on account of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

“Ukraine is among the top five global producers of barley, and any major geopolitical crisis in Ukraine could affect global supplies,” industry executives and analysts tracking the sector said.


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