Coca-Cola extends Olympic legacy push

Coca-Cola Great Britain has extended its partnership with national sports charity Street Games for a further three years and is launching a rejuvenated campaign to strengthen its legacy commitment to improving youth participation with sport beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Coca Cola Legacy 365
Legacy 365 launch (l-r): Street Games’ Jane Ashworth, Coca-Cola’s Joel Morris, Anthony Ogogo, Brunel University’s Dr Laura Hills, Street Games coach Eashaanthen Easwaramohan.

The campaign, dubbed Legacy 365, will see Coca-Cola GB commit further financial and marketing investment to Street Games until 2015 as the two organisations look to make youth participation in sport a year-round activity rather than just a series of one-off events.

The renewed activity was launched following the release of a two year research study – “Building a Participation Legacy” – conducted by Brunel University and the Coca-Cola Foundation. The study, which polled more than 3,000 people across five disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the UK using both qualitative and quantitative methods, looked at the barriers for youth participation in sport.

The research found affordable access to sport was the vital key to delivering a genuine legacy of increased participation from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Other top factors to be addressed to increase participation included making the style of sports coaching informal, offering incentives and rewards, including young people in the planning stages of events, delivering sport locally and for sports coaches to act as role models outside sport.

In addition to its previous commitments to the charity, Coca-Cola GB will now help Street Games launch four mass-participation multi-sport festivals for young people in the UK, support an annual coaching conference and offer young people that make positive differences to their communities exclusive access to assets from its biggest brand sponsorships such as the FIFA World Cup and Football League.

The company aims to increase the number of young people signed up to Street Games from the 110,000 target it claims to have achieved in the first three years of the partnership to 200,000.

To boost awareness of the Legacy 365 initiative Coca-Cola GB has signed up Team GB Olympic bronze medallist boxer Anthony Ogogo as “legacy ambassador” for its partnership with Street Games. Ogogo will appear in forthcoming marketing activity to raise awareness of the scheme, although media plans have not yet been finalised.

Coca-Cola and McDonald’s came under fire from detractors and even the president of IOC for sponsoring the Games last year, given growing levels of obesity across the globe and the high sugar and salt content of some of their products.

Speaking to Marketing Week at the Legacy 365 launch event in London today (25 March), Coca-Cola director of public affairs and communications Joel Morris said: “[People may ask questions about our] suitability to this programme and people make the connection rightly or wrongly. Our view is that obesity is a complex problem and will be a tough nut to crack. It’s not all about the individual foods and drinks, it’s about getting the energy balance right and for us the most effective way to do that is to use the brand to leverage that [calories out] message.”

Earlier this month Coca-Cola GB launched a major marketing campaign and extended its Responsbility Deal commitments – such as reformulating drinks and increasing marketing spend around its light brands – to highlight the action it is taking to help tackle the nation’s obesity problem.

Coca-Cola has partnered with Street Games since 2010. The charity also partners The Co-operative, The Football Pools and Sport England.

As part of the Legacy 365 initiative Coca-Cola is also funding projects around this summer’s Special Olympics, which takes place in Bath and will give year-round sporting opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities across Great Britain.

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