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Always Coca-Cola?

Two of the biggest names in the food and drinks sector were the subject of intense scrutiny last month, in relation to their involvement with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Vice-President of The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Professor Terrence Stephenson, spoke in a front page interview for The Observer, where he called for tougher action to combat obesity in the UK. Partnerships between Coca-Cola, McDonalds and the Olympics Games are, he said, ‘most unhelpful’ in helping to tackle the ‘obesegenic environment we live in’.


Just days after Stephenson’s statement, Coca-Cola announced plans to investigate the social value of its sponsorship of London 2012, using a new tool, ‘Measuring Up’ from Demos. Believed to be the first of its kind, Measuring Up is said to provide detailed insight into the social value brought about by corporate sponsorship activity. If successful, the process will enable Coca-Cola to understand to what extent its sponsorship of London 2012 has made an impact at community level.


However, while Coca-Cola is taking new measures to evaluate its activities in relation to the Games, the brand continues to argue that without the support of sponsors such as itself, the number of National Olympic Committees in a position to send athletes to compete would be significantly reduced.

But more than this, it is difficult not to feel somewhat disheartened at the prospect of an Olympic Games without Coca Cola. This is a brand which has introduced a sense of unity and excitement to the UK as it prepares to welcome the world’s biggest sporting event, a brand which pushes the boundaries of digital marketing to reach wider audiences.

Take Coca-Cola’s ‘Move to the Beat’ campaign…this involved the unveiling of a global TV advert, created by Mother London, featuring Mark Ronson, Katy B and Olympic athletes including GB’s Darius Knight and USA’s David Oliver.



“This wasn’t about shooting a television commercial. It was about inspiring teens to move and capturing the story from multiple angles and viewpoints in order to create pieces of film that could be spread across multiple media platforms.”

Sanjay Guha, marketing and Olympics director for Coca-Cola Northwest Europe and Nordics

The Move to the Beat campaign also includes mobile and digital initiatives and out of home advertising. A new facebook app, ‘Track the Beat’, was also created to allow young people worldwide to connect and interact with the campaign at any time, anywhere. The app invites users to collect the different beats of Coca-Cola’s song for London 2012 and share these with friends and family. It also allows users to access exclusive, behind the scenes footage of Mark Ronson.

Key to the brand reaching new audiences through music was a global partnership with Spotify, which will continue into 2013 and will not doubt provide us with access to yet more innovative and unique musical campaigns as time goes on.

Coca-Cola has even launched an online 2012 mums’ blog, featuring insight from the mums’ of some of the British Olympics hopefuls – a simple, but quirky addition to the brand’s multi-layered campaign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke this week for The Times: “It’s very simple. Without sponsorship we wouldn’t have sport.”


But I think the relationship goes further than this. Without the involvement of brands like Coca-Cola, with its commitment to the introduction of creative, interactive campaigns, we would not be given the opportunity to feel a part of London 2012, as somehow this brand makes us believe that we are.


• View Coca Cola 2012 Mums’ blog:

Cover image courtesy of: Mike Haw,

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