Campaigns featuring celebrities are nothing new in the world of advertising. From Snoop Dog and Corona to Shaquille O’Neal in one of his various endorsements (there are a lot), to Eva Longoria and L’Oreal, marketers have had a long history of placing celebrities or influencers within ad space to spark brand recognition and drive interest. Every once in a while, a brand may even attempt something slightly controversial to break into a new market, like featuring a former communist leader in a television spot. That is exactly what happened in 1997 when Pizza hut partnered with BBDO to produce one of the most costly and gallant ads in history, featuring none other than Mikhail Gorbachev.
After many years, this ad reads like a time capsule. It marks a truly unique moment in time, and in so many ways, though it was a risk for both parties, Gorbachev and the Pizza Hut brand, it speaks to the power of marketing.
“Who would have thought that a bunch of Muscovites bickering about the end of communism would be a natural pitch for pizza?” ...
...and we’re still talking about it.