Sex Sells “Your Favorite Little Pelmeni”

Konstantin Dlutskiy writes about marketing and advertising in Russia.

‘Pelmeni’ are Russian ravioli-like pasta envelopes containing minced meat. Always with meat. Envelopes with mashed potatoes or fruits are called ‘vareniki’ and are more popular in Ukraine. The popularity of pelmeni in Russia is immense. It’s one of the most popular traditional fast food. You simply put frozen pelmeni into boiling water and in 5 minutes you get a nutritional meal.
For long pelmeni were regarded as commodity, such as sugar, bread or pasta. The first Russian brand of premium pelmeni that was aggressively marketed and advertised was Daria. It was introduced by Oleg Tinkov – a Russian marketing enfant terrible. He managed to boost Daria brand recognition to 40% on the budget as low as about 20 thousand dollars. The billboard ads he placed in St. Petersburg and Moscow pictured buttocks powered with flour. The inscription on the ad reads, “Your favorite little pelmeni!!!”
This billboard was banned in St. Petersburg on the next day of appearance. Moscow authorities, being less puritan, banned it in about a week. But it was so outrageous and scandalous that in the next months almost all tabloids, weekly and magazines in Russia republished it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.