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UK: The Coca-Cola Co spearheads Christmas drink-drive campaign

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The Coca-Cola Co's UK arm will offer free Cokes in thousands of bars across the country over the Christmas period, to help persuade consumers not to drive after drinking alcohol.

Coca-Cola will offer a buy-one-get-one-free deal on its flagship drink as part of the Government-backed Designated Driver campaign for the third consecutive year in the UK. The offer begins on 10 December and runs until the end of the month.

Coca-Cola is spearheading the initiative, but Designated Driver is also backed by the Department for Transport, as well as alcohol trade bodies, including the British Beer & Pub Association and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association. The industry-funded charity, Drinkaware, and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers are also supporting the campaign.

"Last year, 380 people were killed in accidents where the driver was over the limit," said the road safety minister, Mike Penning. "That is why our message is clear: don’t drink and drive," he said at the launch of the Christmas campaign today (1 December).

Coca-Cola said that it has more venues signed up to its 2010 campaign than the 8,000 who took part last year, when the group handed out 1m free drinks. It did not specify the exact number of participants for this year's scheme, however.

The soft drinks giant operates a search tool on its website to help consumers find participating bars. "By rewarding those drivers who choose not to drink with a free Coke or diet Coke, we can encourage people to do the right thing while still enjoying a great night out," said Coca-Cola's manager for Great Britain & Ireland, Jon Woods.

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