The Russian arms company Kalashnikov Concern, known best for making the AK-47, is trying to rebrand itself and the assault rifle after U.S. sanctions on Russia prevent Russian arms from being imported by American and Canadian stores with hopes the public relations campaign will create a new image and change public opinion.
The company recently revealed its new slogan, which translates into “weapons of peace” in English. Will this catch on with consumers or is the company simply trying too hard to be something it’s not?
The challenges to rebranding include the gun’s violent history and its portrayal in modern culture.
The AK-47 was adopted by the Russian forces and other communist nations during the Cold War. After the Soviet Union fell, the guns were sold to anyone with cash, including drug cartels and Islamic terrorist groups. Now, Western movies and TV shows show criminals using AK-47s to murder hundreds of innocent people in seconds.
While the rebrand won’t be an easy one, Kalashnikov Concern is certainly taking the right steps to legitimize itself. The company is now producing additional brands that sell supplies such as survival gear and hunting and camping supplies to expand its consumer reach, some of which were even used by Olympic athletes in the Sochi games. It also released a series of online marketing videos that highlight the AK-47’s future impact in maintaining world peace.
If the rebrand is successful and the sanctions are lifted, Kalashnikov Concern’s sales of the AK-47 would skyrocket by nearly 200,000 guns. Read more here.