From USA Today this morning:
"Stoli rebrands vodka and will no longer use Stolichnaya name amid Russia invading Ukraine
"Just call it Stoli vodka.
"The Stoli Group announced last week that it was doing a 'major rebrand' and ending 'the use of the Stolichnaya name' because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"The brand's founder, Yuri Shefler, said the factors behind the decision include his 'vehement position' on the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and 'the desire to accurately represent Stoli's roots in Latvia.'
"'While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand,' Shefler said in a statement, adding the name no longer represents the organization. 'More than anything, I wish for 'Stoli' to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine'."
According to the story, "Only 1.2% of U.S. vodka imports come from Russia … Stoli Vodka's production facilities have been located in Latvia since Shefler was exiled, the company said. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Stoli said it would engage exclusively with 'Slovakian sources to further ensure 100% non-Russian alpha grade spirit'."
- KC's View:
So many companies are doing whatever they can to distance themselves from Russia - doing business there has become ethically untenable, and the state of our technology means that if you are not responsive to the moment, everybody is going to know about it.
I'm old enough to remember the war in Vietnam, which always has been referred to as the first war that played out on television, which is part of what fueled domestic outrage and resistance to what was going on there. But this may be the first war that is playing out on social media - everybody there has a camera, everybody there is able to upload scenes of horrible destruction to the internet so the whole world can see it. War crimes play out on our phones and laptops, and the denials sound hollow, while the people making those statements sound sociopathic and cut off from reality.
There's clearly a business lesson here, but for the moment, I do not want to dwell on it. Too soon.