Blog: Olly WehringCoca-Cola invests in Euro 2008 effect

Olly Wehring | 26 June 2008

just-drinks has touched down in Vienna for the Euro 2008 semi-final between Spain and Russia tonight, courtesy of tournament sponsor Coca-Cola.

The company boasts a "close relationship" with football, having sponsored these championships since 1988 and the World Cup for 30 years.

Coke's closest player affiliations, with Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy, have run their course in the tournament with Holland out and England failing to even clear the first hurdle.

However, the brand has been more successful with sponsored team Germany - who last night reached the final - and "Coca-Cola Kid" Colin Kazim-Richards, who has gone from a GBP250,000 "win a player" Coke promotion to representing Germany's semi-final opponents last night, Turkey.

We flew into the Austrian capital yesterday, with views of the Döbling and Floridsdorf wine growing areas and the huge River Danube, before congregating in the luxurious Coca-Cola Lounge to watch last night's game on Austrian TV.

The only slight glitch to the evening's entertainment was a television blackout during the game, which meant we'd missed Germany's second goal in a 3-2 thriller. In the shelter of our lavish surroundings though, we were completely oblivious that this signal interference, which had affected the whole of Europe, had been caused by a horrendous storm right on our doorstep. Journalists eh?

The reporter in me has, however, begged a few questions of Coke's other sponsorship activities - and not just for another free trip, honest. They say while Euro 2008 is high on the agenda, the company will take this summer's Beijing Olympics by storm as it seeks a true stranglehold in the buoyant Chinese market.

I have also been introduced to Coke's recently acquired Glacéau Vitamin Water, a nutrient boosted product the company bought from its founder Darius Bikoff for GBP2.1bn (US$4.1bn) last year. After conquering the US market through endorsements to Shaquille O'Neal and 50 Cent, the brand has been launched in the UK and is now destined for the rest of Europe and Canada, just-drinks was told.

Offerings like Glacéau will be an essential string to Coca-Cola's bow as a healthier alternative to CSDs.

Coca-Cola will be about as neutral as just-drinks at tonight's game, although perhaps the red-kitted Spanish will be easier on the eye than the Pepsi-esque red, white and blue of Russia.


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