August 15, 2008 / 12:59 PM / 10 years ago

Stallone explores Soviet roots with vodka deal

MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. actor Sylvester Stallone, mighty destroyer of Soviet opponents in the Hollywood “Rambo” and “Rocky” movies, now plans to advertise Russian vodka.

Actor Sylvester Stallone poses during a photocall to promote the movie "Rambo" in Madrid January 28, 2008. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Russian vodka producer Synergy said Friday it had signed a one-year contract with Stallone, who will appear in television and newspaper advertisements for the vodka brand “Russian Ice” from September 1.

Sources valued the deal at $1 million.

Stallone — whose film character John Rambo killed Soviet troops by the dozen in Afghanistan and whose Rocky Balboa humiliated Soviet boxer Ivan Drago — will advertise the product under the slogan: “There is a bit of Russian in all of us.”

“The advertising campaign concept was based on the fact that the actor has Russian roots,” Synergy said in a statement, referring to Stallone’s great-grandmother, Rosa Rabinovich, from the Ukrainian town of Odessa.

The Rambo and Rocky movies were banned in the Soviet Union, but were hot property in the country’s underground VHS market.

A host of big-ticket international stars have already come to Russia, many hired by cash-rich companies and billionaire oligarchs for private shows.

Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Mike Collett-White

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