Beyond all boundaries: women empowerment and the Russian sportswear market

Daniel Muravsky*, Snezhana Muravskaia, Diana Akkalaeva, Sofia Shkaruba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Learning outcomes: The case demonstrated the importance of cultural peculiarities and mechanisms of customer learning in localizing global marketing campaigns. It introduced the consequences of unexpected spillover of viral marketing and PR scandals on the competition. It helps in developing the students’ ability to determine and assess the impact of viral marketing campaigns from the perspectives of various stakeholders of the organization. 

Case overview/synopsis: In 2017, Nike Russia created one of the most successful and influential ad campaigns in the Russian women's sportswear market by encouraging young girls to try new sports. At the same time, Reebok launched a successful worldwide “be more human” campaign aimed at empowering women all around the globe. Two years later, Reebok Russia tried to localize the successful campaign while adjusting the message to be more assertive. As a result, the company met a country-wide outrage from both feminists and anti-feminists. The case centers around Nikolay Borisov, the CEO of Nike Russia, who was unexpectedly drawn into a provocative public discussion on the use of the female empowerment agenda for cause-related marketing. The case dilemma was set during mid-February 2019 and involved Borisov’s assessment of the impact of the competitor’s viral campaign on the market and choice of a reaction strategy to public outrage. 

Complexity academic level: This case is appropriate for an undergraduate or graduate-level program curriculum for courses dedicated to or including topics related to positioning, doing business in emerging markets, corporate social responsibility and consumer behavior. Before engaging with the case, the students should be aware of basic management and economics-related concepts and terms, such as strategy, positioning, CSR and viral marketing. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalEmerald Emerging Markets Case Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2022


  • consumer behaviour
  • emerging markets
  • feminism
  • international branding
  • market orientation/positioning
  • sport
  • sportswear market
  • viral marketing
  • women empowerment


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