Coke tests selling small bottles to low income Russians

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VOLGOGRAD, Russia--Coca-Cola Co. is introducing here in this southern city -- one of the poorest in all of Russia -- a 200 ml bottle of Coke as part of new marketing campaign designated for the lowest-paid consumers. Coca-Cola Russia is repeating a small packaging strategy it and companies such as Unilever have implemented in India and other developing countries.

If the June launch is successful, the small bottles may be sold in other provincial towns, according to Alexander Chernov, a Coca-Cola spokesman.

At 12 cents, the small bottles will be affordable to almost any category of Russian consumers, Mr. Chernov says. In Russia, a two-liter bottle of Coke costs $1 and a half-liter costs 45 cents.

The small bottles will also help raise Coke's profile in the Russian province, where it's almost impossible to buy branded products.

The Volgograd region is listed among the poorest in Russia. Average per capita monthly income reached $28 in the beginning of this year, compared to the $200 a month the average Muscovite officially registers, according to the figures from the State Statistics Committee.

Coca-Cola is supporting the initiative in Volgograd with spots on a number of local radio stations including Europa Plus and Russkoye radio, in addition to an outdoor board campaign.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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