Chobani Brings Russian ‘Yogurt Standoff’ to a Peaceful End


We kinda feel for Chobani. The “Greek” yogurt company only wanted to amplify the good will earned by its sponsorship of American Olympians and this cool follow-up to its Super Bowl spot by sending product samples to U.S. athletes in Sochi…but Putin’s “regulators” were like, “Nyet” due to arcane “customs rules”, something something.

Chobani rightly suspected that this move had nothing to with the recent Whole Foods decision to stop selling its products or any lame jokes you might make about degenerate Western “cultures” entering the former Soviet Union. Despite pleas by Senator Chuck Schumer and others to let the yogurt go (through customs), someone at the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance(?!?) told Yahoo that “This question can be resolved very quickly.”

That doesn’t sound creepy at all, but the story has a (relatively) happy ending.

After trying to negotiate with the Russian government while more than 5,000 cups of yogurt sat in a refrigerator at Newark, New Jersey’s Liberty Airport, Chobani announced today that it would not give in to extortion and would instead donate the product to area food banks.

From Chobani CMO Peter McGuinness:

“We decided that if we didn’t have a resolution by today, we were going to donate the products.”

Pretty good case of making the best of an unfortunate situation (not that anyone in Sochi is familiar with the concept).

And here, for no reason at all, is our favorite Olympic-themed GIF to date: Putin on the Ritz.


@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.