Use of foreign language in media, especially advertisements has grabbed extensive attention from linguistic researchers recently. The advent of the phenomenon in the Russian language too has gained some attention . Ustinova points out that 76 percent of the total advertisement s spots in Russian television are dominated by Russian-English mix . Clearly, English has a dominant place in advertisements presented over Russian television.
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There is a definitive intrusion of English in the content and structure of both print and television advertisements. Russian advertisements have been observed to become a giant cauldron of social-cultural mixture that has helped in the evolution of the modern Russian language – as a mix of English and Russian. Advertisements by multinational corporations translated in Russian have been accused of slowly infiltrating the Russian language with English words.
The effect of advertising language on Russian lingo has brought forth a conflict between Russian culture and language. The advent of English words like “email” or “Halloween” has crept in the Russian language through advertisements. Since its entry into the Russian market in the 1990s, the Coca Cola Company has brought in English words in the Russian vocabulary.
This primarily has been due to the advent of English advertisements by multinational corporations (MNCs) who had to promote their brand through advertisement campaigns translated in Russian. As it has been mentioned by academicians, “translation plays a facilitating role as it enables the colonizer and the colonized to communicate.”
Therefore, many believe that the inclusion of English words in the advertisements of MNCs has been a deliberate attempt by the western colonizers to intrude into Russian socio-cultural mix. This paper analyzes the advertisements of coca cola in Russia and tries to ascertain the amount of English words that has been brought in by their advertisements.
The aim of the paper is to identify the advent and usage of English in advertisements of Coca Cola in Russia. Therefore, the aim of the paper will be understand the use of Russian words, or English words, or a mix of Russian-English in advertisements . This will demonstrate the penetration of English in Russian usage that affects the cultural discourse of the society .
The method that is adopted in analyzing the Russian advertisements of coca cola over a period of time is through analyzing the ads of Coca Cola in Russian. 11 coca cola advertisements have been studied from print, television, and internet media. The advertisements and their contextual content are described in the table shown below. The advertisements are analyzed for their voice over, and the language used in the text displays.
Table : Coca Cola advertisement description
|Sr. No.||Year||Media||Content||English-Russian Mix|
|1.||2010||TV||Coca-Cola: History of Celebration||The advertisement has a mixture of English and Russian. Though the background voice over is in Russian, the song “Wave your flag” is in English. Further, the language used for the textual display in the end of the advertisement had 10 words, out of which 3 were written in English. (YouTube)|
|2.||2008||TV||The Power of Scream||The whole advertisement has voiceover only in Russian, except for the brand name. however, the last screenshot with the texts has been written in English. Words like “Coca Cola Euro 2008”.|
|3.||2004||TV||Despina Vandi||The coca cola advertisement featured during Athens Olympics. The whole advertisement has voiceover, as well as texts in Russian, except in the end while mentioning Athens 2004 and the brand name.|
|4.||2009||TV||Coca Cola Commercial||The advertisement too has been translated from English. However, the ads do not have any English text in it except for the brand name.|
|5.||2007||All be Cool – Be Inspired (in Russian)||The print advertisement has everything written in Russian, except for the brand name that has been written in English.|
|6.||2010||TV||Christmas Ad||This ad shows Santa Claus drinking Coca Cola, and children decorating the Christmas tree with small teddies with Coca Cola written on them in English. The voice over is in English, however, all the visual texts, except the brand name is written in Russian.|
|7.||2005||Internet||“Be friends with Coca-Cola! Be online!”||The internet marketing campaign launched in Russia in 2005. The campaign aimed at internet users in Russia and provided them with 30 minutes of free internet access using ROL. (Just-drinks).|
|8.||2010||Coca Cola Light||The print ad has a Russian model depicting slimness for Coca Cola Light, a deviation from the western Diet Coke. The text is in Russian. (MIKHAIL KOROLEV)|
|9.||2010||TV||Coca Cola||The advertisement shows animated insects stealing a bottle of coke from the garden. The text in the advertisement is in Russian, with only the brand name written in English. (Coca Cola)|
|10.||2010||TV||Coca Cola||This advertisement shows the historic change in the bottle designs of the beverage since initiation. The years are written in English numerals, while the other texts are in Russian. Further the brand name is in English. The voice over too is in Russian.|
|11.||2010||TV||Football World Cup 2010||The advertisement shows coke to be the official sponsor of 2010 FIFA World Cup. The texts in the advertisement are in Russian, except for the acronym FIFA, numerals, and the brand name.|
The above table shows the collection of advertisements of Coca Cola from Russia. These are a mix of ads from different time frames, and have a mix of both print, TV, and Internet campaigns. In case of the first advertisement, it runs with a voice over in Russian, describing the spirit of a winning goal.
However, the name of the player is written in English. Further, in the end, the whole of the texts describing is written in Russian, but the brand name is written in English. In fact, in all the advertisements studied, the brand name is written in English. The Russian print ads of Coco Cola in table 2 depicts that the brand name is always written in English. As has been mentioned by Ustinova, that the brand names are written in English –
The name of the product and/or company is a must in the layout of an advertisement. It occurs in written and/or spoken forms as a brand name, as an element on a label, within the text of the body, wrapper or a slogan. When a brand name is transformed into a verbal form, its actual shape is determined by considerations of globalization and localization, together with the product and company identities.
Table: Russian Print ads
Source: (Wilsdon; Mikhail Korolev; Collection of Cool Coca-Cola Ads)
Further, the content of the ads are important as they demonstrate the importance of the ads and the content or the message of the campaign. As in case of the Coca Cola advertisement, the punch line “Open Happiness” has been translated into Russian. The target of the coca cola is usually the youths, as the target customers are clear from the advertisements. An increasing tendency of the advertisers is to use English in advertisements targeted towards the youths .
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Therefore, the more recent advertisements of 2010 showed that there are more English songs used in the ads. This is to attract more young customers, as they are supposed to have adhered to their allegiance towards the global language. Therefore, the television commercial of the World Cup with the song, “Wave your flag” depicts the company’s aim at targeting the youth as the song has not been translated into Russian.
This is so because, only ads without any translations in Russian are aimed at youths . For instance, the coca cola advertisement titled “Teen Machine” was not translated to Russian, as the target of the ad were teenagers. Therefore, there was more of graphic and visual display than text.
Further, the “Brr” ad by coca cola demonstrated a true global feeling with people from all round the world showing the same zest for the drink. However, the text that has been used, and the voice over in the end were both in Russian. The 1992 Olympics sponsorship advertisement of Coca Cola too used an English song in the background of the advertisement, though the voice over was in Russian.
The textual displays, the name of countries were all in English, therefore displaying the prominence of the language in Russian advertisements. Though the spoken language was in Russian, many for the coco cola advertisements had background songs that were in English. As has been observed in the case of 2010 Christmas advertisement, 2010 World Cup ad, 1992 Olympics ad, etc. has been described by Ustinova,
… Russian is used to serve as a matrix language and give a sentence its basic structure. However, the current tendency evolves that English is present in abundance in advertisements on technology, computers, cosmetics, imported food and cars and it is not possible to define English as a matrix or a host language.
This therefore, has led to the use of certain blended words in the advertisements that has entered the Russian vocabulary. Therefore, it has been observed that in many cases due to the advent of mix of Russian and English in ads, there has been a mixture of English Russian words in the regular lingo –
In TV commercials, when English words are voiced by Russians, a ‘Russified’ variant of English pronunciation is noticed, especially in those sounds that do not have the equivalents in both languages. English sounds are adapted to Russian framework or substituted by sounds that exist in Russian language.
Russian has lost its singular homogeneity since the advent of the advertisement and the increase in commercial discourse. There has been an increase in the usage of English words, or Russian words that have been anglicized and been adopted in the Russian language. Therefore, even though most of the coca cola ads have texts written in Russian, and voiceovers were in Russian, there was a definitive deficit in visual and musical aid to support the Russian, as they usually played English pop songs that helped in anglicizing the children.
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