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Is Coke’s Christmas cancelled?

Posted by Elena Polisano - 7th December 2017


At the top of Coca-Cola’s Christmas list is the warm glow of good PR. From the nationwide tour of its iconic red truck to the hyped release of its famous Holidays are Coming advert, Coke’s marketing has gone into overdrive. But this year the brand is sharing the spotlight with our ocean plastics campaign. We’ve been riding the wave of Coca-Cola’s relentless advertising – and being seen in all the right places.

We’ve been popping up to call on the world’s biggest soft drinks company – the maker of  3,400 plastic bottles a second – to do our oceans a festive favour and ditch throwaway plastic. In the UK alone, 16 million plastic bottles a day aren’t recycled and many of these end up in our oceans. A glitzy ad campaign won’t change that: we need Coca-Cola to take responsibility for its plastic packaging at every step.

So here’s how our spoof of a well-known Christmas ad has wormed its way into the heart of Coke’s precious PR push.

Owning the conversation the day Coke released its Holidays are Coming advert

The challenge for us was, how do we hijack Coke’s PR push when we can’t compete with its advertising budget? We decided to gate-crash Coca-Cola’s release with our own video launch hours before. There’s an annual flurry of Christmas adverts by big brands like Coke and we wanted to see if we could nab a bit of their newsworthiness and reach a bigger audience by taking over the hashtag. And thanks to you it looks like we succeeded. According to Blurrt, 66% of the conversation about Coca-Cola on the day we launched was taken by tweets mentioning Greenpeace UK. When you followed #HolidaysAreComing you discovered, “Greenpeace UK released an advert the same day as Coca-Cola, calling them out for the amount of recyclable plastic bottles dumped into the ocean each year.” Win!

Marketing media love our ad

We wanted our video to reach Coca-Cola’s PR team directly, and calculated that the best way to do that was to make something that their industry bible might feature. We wanted our parody to replicate the slickness of the original and look like it could be the real thing. And it paid off – we made headlines like Soft focus, subversive unease: how Greenpeace parodied the iconic Coca-Cola Christmas ad and Lower budgets, higher impact? Our Christmas panel on the charity campaigns cutting through the crowd. And now it looks like we might have actually taken Coke’s place. PR Week highlighted ours as one of the season’s best adverts and we’ve made it into their top five Christmas campaigns! The favourite is out to a public vote here.

A global campaign for a global brand

So far we’ve had over 3.5 million views on Facebook worldwide. It’s been shared from Australia to Africa, in the US and New Zealand, in Turkey, Israel and Germany, and many more. We might just have taken the shine off Coca-Cola’s Christmas. We’ve definitely heaped on the pressure for Coke to start 2018 with a new year’s resolution to seriously curb its plastic habit.

Join us here.


Article Tagged as: Coke, Featured, Oceans, Plastics


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