Coke eyes legacy with major Olympic push

Coca-Cola is to undertake what it claims is “one of the biggest experiential activations the country will ever see” as part of its sponsorship of the Olympic torch relay.


The drinks giant wants to create an Olympic legacy by building excitement around the torch relay as it passes through various towns in the UK and showcasing the positive things young people, some of which are torch bearers, are doing in their communities.

The activity, launching on 19 May, will feature a fleet of branded hybrid vehicles that will travel ahead of the torch bearers on the 70-day event, carrying ambassadors who will hand out sample bottles of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero to spectators on the streets.

The bottles handed out will be limited edition 250ml aluminium variants, only available at the relay, which Coca-Cola says will act as keep sakes. Spectators not wanting to keep the will be encouraged to recycle the bottles by a musical hybrid van.

Other interactive vehicles on the relay will embed Coca-Cola’s umbrella “Move to the Beat” Olympic messaging by allowing consumers to create and share their own versions of the campaign’s song, originally created by Mark Ronson.

Each day’s relay will culminate with live music events in the evening, including five bigger “special city celebrations”, featuring acts including Dizzee Rascal, The Wanted and Tribes. Some of the smaller events will also feature local talent to reinforce the campaign’s community messaging.

Coca-Cola will encourage consumers and its celebrity brand ambassadors to share all the experiential activity on social media and will also showcase the event on its own channels, which include Coke Zone, Facebook and Twitter.

James Williams, Coca-Cola’s Olympic Torch Relay director, told Marketing Week:: “I want Coca-Cola to be recognised for sharing positive action from communities. Youths haven’t had a great run these days but we can share hundreds of different positive stories about what they are doing and help put the great back into Britain.”

He adds that he also hopes the torch relay activity will help people remember Coca-Cola for putting on “great music” events.

Last year Coca-Cola told Marketing Week it aims to become an “established music brand”, pitching it against companies such as iTunes and MySpace.

Separately, parent The Coca-Cola Company has reported net profit increased 10% year-on-year to $2.5bn (£1.6bn), while net revenues were up 6% to 11.14bn (£6.9bn).

Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive of the Coca-Cola Company, says the decision to reinvest $400m worth of efficiency savings into brand building initiatives helped improve performance.

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