Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Coke launches sustainability ad series

Coca-Cola has launched a campaign highlighting its health and sustainability credentials in an effort to ward off ongoing criticism of its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Coca Cola CSR ad

The soft drinks brand is running a series of press ads highlighlighting its recycling efforts, healthy drink options and the amount of people it employees in the UK.

One ad explains how the company is working with LOCOG to ensure London 2012 is “the most sustainable Games in history”. Another, declares that it “offers more choice than you think” and how it is “proud to offer 18 drinks including a variety that are are low and no calorie”.

Each creative will point consumers to its corporate responsibility and sustainability summary 2011/12 website to explain its efforts in more detail.

A Coca-Cola spokeswoman says: “The Olympic Games provides a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of the progress we, and our bottling partner Coca-Cola Enterprises, are making to deliver our sustainability commitments in the UK. The Olympics coming to the UK has helped us accelerate these plans and bring about lasting improvements within our operations.”

The company’s sponsorship of the Olympics was criticised at one of the highest levels earlier this month, after the IOC president Jacques Rogge said growing levels of obesity had led to a “question mark” over Coca-Coca - and McDonald’s’ - involvement with the Games.

At the time, Coca-Cola Great Britain’s Olympic portfolio director James Eadie defended its sponsorship and said: “The Olympics gives us an opportunity to demonstrate what the modern business is all about and allows us to accelerate and showcase sustainability”.

A recent report by The Childrens’ Food Campaign, dubbed “The Obesity Games”, claimed that corporate sponsorship accounts for les than 10% of the funding for the London 2012 Olympics. Fast food sponsors are said to contribute just 2% of the IOC’s income, which it criticised because they are given a huge platform to market their brands by associating themselves with the event.

ISBA, however, argues that attacking businesses will “do nothing to tackle obesity in the UK and diverts attention away from the real issues”.

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