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Beyond all boundaries: women empowerment and the Russian sportswear market

Daniel Muravsky (School of Business and Creative Industries, University of the West of Scotland, London, UK)
Snezhana Muravskaia (Marketing Department, Graduate School of Business, HSE University, Moscow, Russian Federation)
Diana Akkalaeva (Graduate School of Business, HSE University, Moscow, Russian Federation)
Sofia Shkaruba (Graduate School of Business, HSE University, Moscow, Russian Federation)

Publication date: 16 December 2022


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.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 8: Marketing.



This research has been conducted within the fundamental research project “Transformation of Marketing Strategies for Customer-Oriented Business in the Global Digital Economy” as a part of the HSE Graduate School of Business Research Program in 2021-2023 (Protocol No.23 dd 22.06.2021 of the HSE GSB Research Committee).

Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Muravsky, D., Muravskaia, S., Akkalaeva, D. and Shkaruba, S. (2022), "Beyond all boundaries: women empowerment and the Russian sportswear market", , Vol. 12 No. 4.



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