The Coca-Cola celebration award celebrates CSR

Howdy everybody,
Coca-Cola showcased appealling marketing activations to leverage its partnership with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Trophy tour and the Celebrations ad are good examples. With the Coca-Cola celebration award recently given to Tshabalala, the Atlanta firm is capitalizing on the World Cup momentum, by adding a strong CSR component and engaging football fans. Another benchmark of how global football brands display their CSR initiatives by leveraging their products and simulteneously activating their marketing rights in the smartest possible way.

The first goal scored in the 2010 FIFA World Cup by Tshabalala against Mexico was chosen by millions fans worldwide as the most iconic celebration of the World Cup. Siphiwe Tshabalala earned the first ever “Coca-Cola Celebration award”. Coca-Cola engaged football fans to decide on the winner through an online vote.

For every goal scored at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Coca-Cola donated $1,500 contribution to the Company’s “Water for Schools”. It’s an initiative to provide clean water access to schools across the African continent. With 145 goals scored, $217,500 was raised to fund the project and an additional $50,000 was donated on behalf of Tshabalala bringing the total amount raised to $267,500. By participating in the voting, football fans have had a hand in supporting clean water initiatives that will leave a lasting legacy of water sustainability in Africa and beyond.

The “Water for Schools” program is just one part of the $30 million “Replenish Africa Initiative” (RAIN) by Coca-Cola to provide at least 2 million people in Africa with clean water and improved sanitation by 2015.

Emmanuel Seuge, group Director, worldwide sports and entertainment marketing, commented on this initiative: “Fans from around the world have voted for their favorite goal celebrations”. Throughout our 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign, we’ve encouraged them to let go of their inhibitions and celebrate. The Coca-Cola Celebration Award was another way we brought fans closer to the celebration of the FIFA World Cup while also leaving an important legacy for the host continent.” [Source: The Coca-Cola Company.com].

This CSR initiative is one of many that global brands have kicked off during World Cup 2010. “Using” the World Cup in South Africa to focus on CSR can be badmouthed by those who see an lousy opportunity to promote brands and evil capitalism. Well, doing nothing is bad and doing something is worse……I just don’t get it.

My take is that when companies such as Coca-Cola, adidas, Nike, FIFA and many others invest big bucks in Corporate Social Responsibility, they do come up with sustainable projects with millions €/$ poured in. For them, it’s not a fancy word thrown out there.
Also, no one can blame them for associating their brand with the effort and make sure their marks send the message: “We care about those issues, and we do something about it!” That is is the bottom line.

I am looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Karl Lusbec

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