The Germans are coming. Media Markt, the German based European audio/video/computer superstore giant is opening in Moscow on December 2nd. For guys like M-Video and Eldorado, that's pretty fucking scary. These two Russian electronics giants have been cannibalizing the same market for years, with their nearly identical branding, promotional cycles and product/service offerings. Media Markt, with a differentiated brand identity, a reputedly better selection of products and that beloved German quality of service will have an almost immediate dramatic impact to M-Video and Eldorado's bottom line. Worse still, this is happening in December, when the two traditionally reap in loads o' cash from holiday binge shoppers.
So, what do you do when you can't compete on price, quality or service? Well, when everything seems hopeless, you turn the anthem up to 11 and embrace nationalism.
Remember back in the 80's when the Japanese were importing cheaper, higher quality product into the USA? Remember what the Americans did? Knowing that it would take years to make domestic goods more competitive through quality or pricing, domestic industry launched the "Made in the USA" campaign, encouraging people to remain loyal to local producers. This is kind of what's happening in Russia. It's the new "simple."
The promotion of nationalist-consumerism in Russia is nothing new. It's been the political goal ever since Yeltsin stumbled out of office. In 2007, though, this will hit commerce with a vengeance. Any company with any capital investment in Russia will be waving the old red, blue and white flag as fiercely as their advertising budgets will allow.
This is "smart spend" as the feds are already giving you free PR. Turn on ORT news and watch how foreign nationals are stealing rubles from honest Russian farmers. Keep watching and you'll see how the president's office is working hard to provide affordable housing for young families. It's not difficult to see where national sentiment is being steered.
Now the irony of all this is, of course, that any M-Video or Eldorado store will stock mostly Korean, Japanese or European brands meaning that their version of "Made in the USA" mostly benefits resellers and really doesn't support local infrastructure or protect industry. However, it's a viable opportunity, and people around here know the value of that.
In response to Media Markt's launch campaign which has dotted Moscow's streets with their crimson and black signs, Eldorado has come up with a campaign called "No. 1 in Russia," placing their home-boy messages as close to Media Markt's outdoor billboards as possible. M-Video is a little behind the ball on this one, however. They're still in the throes of a re-branding effort and rumor has it that their new look with feature simplified branding with the slogan "Simply The Best." Good thing to know that comedy isn't dead in this city.