The death of Mikhail Gorbachev has set this well-scripted 1998 Pizza Hut ad trending. Filmed in Red Square, it was aired internationally but never ran in Russia.
Quite a coup for BBDO, although apparently the former leader of the Soviet Union refused to eat any pizza – he left that to his granddaughter.
Pizza Hut was one of the first foreign-owned restaurants to open in Soviet Russia, thanks to Gorbachev’s perestroika policies. The chain has pulled out of the country since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
It’s hard to imagine the current Russian leader taking such a benign role in popular culture. “Gorby” also featured in a Louis Vuitton luggage ad with the line, “A journey brings us face to face with ourselves”, shot by Annie Leibovitz:
And was a regular on Spitting Image back in the day.