Coke boss wants more activity tie-ups with charitable sector

Coca-Cola: increasing marketing spend behind its lower-calorie drinks
Coca-Cola: increasing marketing spend behind its lower-calorie drinks

Coca-Cola is on the hunt for charitable and voluntary partners, as it seeks to build on its partnership with charity StreetGames and to up its CSR (corporate social responsibility) credentials.

Jon Woods, Coke UK managing director said: "We are looking at partnerships for physical activity, in particular in the voluntary and charitable sectors."

Coke works with StreetGames to help young people in disadvantaged communities to get active and play sport.

The move to take on more charitable partners comes as the drinks giant moves to play a more proactive role in the obesity debate.

Yesterday, it aired two TV ads as part of a wider commitment to show that it is helping combat obesity.

Referring to the debate around obesity, Woods said: "We have never talked about it before. We need to say what we have done. We think we can make a meaningful impact on obesity."

Critics would argue that by advertising its fizzy drinks, Coke is contributing to the obesity problem in this country and globally.

Sustain, the charity, has called for Coke to stop advertising its flagship Coke drink, as opposed to advertising that it also makes lower-calorie drinks.

However, Woods said that its flagship Coke brand, "can play a role in a balanced diet", and there was no need to stop marketing it.

Woods also pointed to Coke's commitment towards the Government's Responsibility Deal, including "reducing calories per litre on some of its leading drinks by at least 30%", and increasing marketing spend behind its lower-calorie drinks.

Doctors have also called for fizzy drinks to be heavily taxed, in order to combat ballooning waistlines.

The Chancellor's Budget on March 20 could address the issues of obesity, but Woods denied that the timing of Coke's campaign was designed with the Budget in mind.

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