March 9, 2022
6:05 PM ET
Nielsen mulls future of measurement in Russia
Nielsen is still providing media measurement services for Russia, though it’s “pausing” new business and considering what to do with its current business amid an exodus of big global advertisers from the country.
“Due to the escalating situation in Russia and Ukraine, Nielsen is actively working with its clients and vendors in Russia to pause new business and evaluating a plan for its existing operations in Russia,” the company said in a statement.
Russia has shut down its last remaining independent TV network, and other TV players are either state-owned or closely controlled. Independent media and journalists have fled in the wake of government crackdowns and a new law that, among other things, metes out jail terms as long as 15 years for referring to any “invasion” or “war.” Media companies and brands including Discovery, CNN, Bloomberg, Alphabet and Meta have suspended operations. A person familiar with the matter said Nielsen doesn’t provide measurement for state-run media. It’s unclear what other media remains left to measure.
Five of the 10 largest advertisers in Russia as of 2020, according to an Ad Age Datacenter analysis of Mediascope data, have announced they’re halting advertising. That includes all those on the list based outside Russia, including Nestle (the biggest overall spender), PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble Co., L’Oreal and Mars. Combined they spent more than $660 million on measured media spending. Eight of the 10 biggest global advertisers overall in recent days have announced they’re ending advertising or else halting or curtailing operations in Russia.
12:37 PM ET
Ukraine puts John Deere tractors to work hauling enemy tanks
John Deere, the tractor maker, has been starring in a newly popular genre on social media: Tank pulling. Ukraine’s farmers have been using the tractors to commandeer tanks from invading Russians, according to videos shared on social media. John Deere is a 185-year-old classic U.S. brand with global operations that extend to Ukraine and Russia, too.
Senator Marco Rubio suggested John Deere provide more tractors to Ukraine. And one Twitter user said the Ukraine videos presented the best product placement for John Deere since a famous episode of “Mad Men,” when a tractor made a cameo in a dark episode of the show based on a 1960s ad agency. John Deere shut down its stores in Ukraine at the start of the war and said Wednesday that it suspended shipments to Russia when the invasion began, according to Bloomberg. The company said it also has halted deliveries to Belarus.
10:20 AM ET
Amazon stops sending products to Russia, cuts off Prime Video
Amazon.com Inc. says it has stopped shipping products sold on its retail website to customers based in Russia and cut off access to its video streaming service there. The moves, announced in a blog post updated late Tuesday, ratchets up the company’s pullback following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier Tuesday, Amazon joined the ranks of companies suspending some operations in Russia by announcing it was halting new sales from its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing arm.
Russia wasn’t a major market for the Seattle-based company, for either physical products or software services. The world’s largest online retailer doesn’t operate dedicated web stores for the country, but shoppers there could have products shipped from Amazon’s retail outpost in Germany or other storefronts.
Related: Why Hyatt-branded hotels are still operating in Russia
8:30 AM ET
Discovery latest broadcaster to go dark in Russia
Discovery is joining the list of broadcasters cutting services in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine. On Wednesday, Discovery, which also runs HGTV, Animal Planet and TLC, said it would stop broadcasting in Russia, according to Reuters. Discovery has a media partnership with Russia’s National Media Group.
A number of media companies are halting broadcasting, streaming and news services inside Russia following global condemnation and sanctions of the country, since it started a war against neighboring Ukraine last month. In recent days, Netflix stopped streaming in Russia, BBC and CNN shut their channels, and movie studios such as Warner Bros. and Disney stopped showing new theatrical releases in the country.
March 8, 2022
8:30 PM ET
L’Oreal suspends Russian advertising and operations
L’Oreal has temporarily closed all stores and directly operated counters at department stores in Russia along with “all industrial and national media investments.”
The world’s biggest beauty marketer is also temporarily shutting down its brand e-commerce sites in Russia and assessing additional measure, according to the statement, “whilst still taking care of our 2,200 Russian employees.”
L’Oreal is also supporting employees in Ukraine with “financial and psychological help,” the statement said, with teams “personally welcoming our Ukrainian colleagues who cross the border” and providing them with accommodations, psychological, medical, financial and legal support. L’Oreal is providing global and local relief organizations with up to $5.5 million in donations and has already distributed 250,000 personal care and hygiene products.
5:45 PM ET
290 companies have now pulled out of Russia: Yale report
So many brands are pulling out of Russia, it’s hard to keep track. But the Yale School of Management is doing its best to catalog them all. By the school’s count, 290 companies have announced their withdrawal from the country. A tipping point was reached today with U.S. corporate titans McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks announcing various forms of business suspensions, while PepsiCo said it would suspend all beverage sales while keeping essentials like baby food flowing.
The Yale list, updated by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research team at the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute, can be found here. The team is also tracking brands that according to its research have remained in Russia. As of Tuesday that included: Nestle, Hilton, Marriott, Kimberly-Clark and Mars, among others.
5:45 PM ET
Estee Lauder closes Russia stores, suspends business
Estee Lauder Cos. is suspending all commercial activity in Russia, “including every store we own and operate, as well as our brand sites and shipments to any of our retailers,” the company said in a statement. The company previously had suspended business investments and initiatives. And its charitable foundation has committed $1 million in support of relief efforts, plus product donations and a double match for employee donations for relief in and around Ukraine.
5:00 PM ET
Coca-Cola joins boycott
Coca-Cola Co. is suspending its business in Russia following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine, as PepsiCo explores options for its Russian business.
“Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine,” Coca-Cola Co. said in a statement Tuesday. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”
Read more here.
4:02 PM ET
Starbucks says business activity suspended at 130 stores in Russia
Starbucks Corp. said its licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause operations at all 130 of its stores in Russia. The coffee chain’s licensee will provide support to the almost 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on the company for their livelihood, Starbucks said Tuesday in a statement posted on its website. The company had said last week that it would donate royalties from sales in Russia to relief efforts in Ukraine.
3:57 PM ET
Amazon cloud unit stops taking new customers in Russia, Belarus
Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud-computing unit will stop accepting new customers in Russia or Belarus. In a company blog post updated on Tuesday, Amazon said its Amazon Web Services unit had “no data centers, infrastructure or offices in Russia, and we have a long-standing policy of not doing business with the Russian government. We have also stopped allowing new sign-ups for AWS in Russia and Belarus.”
The biggest AWS users in Russia are companies headquartered elsewhere, Amazon said.
The Seattle-based company doesn’t have a dedicated retail website for Russia, but shoppers in most European countries can receive shipments cross-border from Amazon’s German retail site or outposts elsewhere. Amazon hasn’t responded to inquires about its retail activities in Russia.
2:15 PM ET
McDonald's to temporarily close Russian restaurants
McDonald’s today announced it would temporarily close all of its restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market, following increased pressure to take a stand as the war in Ukraine worsens.
It is “impossible to predict,” when they would reopen, CEO Chris Kempczinski said.
Read more about McDonald's decision here.
12:44 PM ET
Unilever suspends Russia marketing, imports and exports
Unilever has suspended all marketing and capital investments as well as all imports from and exports to Russia, CEO Alan Jope said in a statement.
“We will continue to supply our everyday essential food and hygiene products made in Russia to people in the country,” Jope said, continuing to keep the policy “under close review.” But Unilever will not invest any further capital into the country, he said, “nor will we profit from our presence in Russia.”
Unilever previously stopped business operations in Ukraine. Jope said Unilever also has committed to donate nearly $5.5 billion of essential Unilever products to humanitarian relief. Unilever rival P&G late Monday said it would stop spending on marketing or capital investment in Russia and limit product sales there to “basic health, hygiene and personal care items.”
Burger King directs Russia profits to Ukraine refugees
Burger King has committed $3 million to support Ukrainian refugees as part of a series of charitable donations from parent company Restaurant Brands International
“We are watching the attack on Ukraine and its people with horror and are focusing our efforts in the region on contributing to the safety of Ukrainians seeking shelter and security for their families,” a spokesperson for the company said.
RBI is redirecting profits from franchised operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts, starting with an immediate donation of $1 million to the United Nations refugee agency. In addition, franchisees in more than 25 countries in Europe are partnering with local non-government organizations to distribute $2 million in free Whopper meal vouchers to Ukrainian refugees arriving in those countries to be redeemed in the next few weeks. RBI franchises more than 800 Burger King restaurants in Russia among its 29,000 global outlets.
7:17 AM ET
P&G stops marketing, curtails sales in Russia
Procter & Gamble Co. is suspending marketing and capital investment in Russia and curtailing some product offerings there, Chairman-CEO Jon Moeller said in a letter to employees and blog post on Monday. The company also has suspended operations in Ukraine and put together a multi-million-dollar package of humanitarian relief for refugees.
P&G is “suspending all media, advertising and promotional activity” in Russia and “significantly reducing our product portfolio to focus on basic health, hygiene and personal care items needed by the many Russian families who depend on them in their daily lives. As we proceed with the reduced scale of our Russian operations, we will continue to adjust as necessary,” Moeller said.
Read more about P&G's moves in Russia and Ukraine.