Since 1928, Coca-Cola has sponsored the Olympic movement, making it the longest-standing partner of the Games. 

Those 1928 Games, which included 46 nations, marked the beginning of Coca-Cola’s involvement, which has evolved endlessly through integrated sponsorship marketing and global partnership programs. However, in the summer of 1928, the same freighter that carried the U.S. Olympic team to Amsterdam also had one thousand cases of Coca-Cola on its manifest. Vendors put those bottles on sale in kiosks around the Olympic Stadium and the rowing venue at an event that was not surprisingly light on promotional signage or advertising. The only branding was a bulletin designed by an American art student at each stadium entrance. 

Global partnerships have come a long way. 

As Coca-Cola heads towards marking a century of collaboration with the Olympics, they are putting a spotlight on the celebration for this year in a festive campaign with fans of the Olympic movement and enhancing the games through activations, music, experiences, food, and athletes. They recently unveiled “Celebrate Everyday Greatness” as its theme for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Celebrate Everyday Greatness campaign is a multi-brand platform that champions life’s everyday moments. The core message from Coca-Cola is that any moment, big or small, can turn into something extraordinary. From the brand that brought us “Open Happiness,” you can taste the consistency of their strategic thinking. 

In a company release, Brad Ross, Coca-Cola’s Vice President of Global Arts & Entertainment Marketing and Partnerships, said, “The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a prime opportunity for The Coca-Cola Company and our extensive portfolio of products to connect with fans. We will use this global stage to showcase how greatness in everyday moments can create real magic.” (SponsorshipX Paris, August 7th to 9th, is excited to have Brad Ross of Coca-Cola share more about this magic at our Future of Global Partnerships Forum.)

In addition to Coca-Cola brand activations, the company will lean into the Games with its Powerade brand. 

This year’s campaign is an update on their Pause is Power platform inspired by Simone Biles’ break from competing and focus on her mental health. The new campaign naturally stars Biles. 

In an interview with Marketing Brew, Matrona Filippou, president of the global hydration, sports, coffee, and tea category at Powerade’s parent company, Coca-Cola, stated, “The platform was focused on continuing to challenge the win-at-all-costs mentality associated with modern sports culture. It’s not always pushing yourself to the limits that makes you stronger. Sometimes just taking a pause, taking a breath, can actually help you come back stronger and better.”

The lead creation of this year’s iteration is a short film entitled The Vault, which showcases Biles and her journey as she talks about why the pause was necessary for her. The film gave me goosebumps as Biles tumbles through the air in slow motion, reliving her decision, the pressure of being a world-class athlete, and the benefit of recharging to power herself through. 

Costa Coffee is another brand in the Coca-Cola family, taking advantage of the Games by opening popup sites and pod stores. They will run at the Athlete Village, PlaPlace de la Concorde, the Eiffel Tower and Versailles.  

The Coca-Cola-owned coffee chain will open temporary ‘pods’ across some of the event’s key venues, including the Athletes’ Village, Place de la Concorde, the Eiffel Tower, Roland-Garros, Versailles and Le Golf National. 

“We are extremely proud to be the Official Worldwide Coffee Partner for the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games this Summer, bringing the Costa Coffee experience to the Games for athletes and fans gathering from all over the world. The Olympics and Paralympics represent significant opportunities for our brand to connect with spectators, and we look forward to showcasing our beloved range of beverages at such a high-profile event,” said Sam O’Brien, Managing Director EMENA, Costa Coffee. While the chain operates over three thousand stores across Europe, ironically, it exited France in 2023. However, as an official coffee partner of the Games worldwide, I believe this is too good an opportunity to pass by. 

Coca-Cola’s pillar of involvement is its sponsorship of the Torch Relay, which it has been doing since 1992. To me, the start of the torch relay is when the Olympics kick off. The community event and nation-builder often rallies a country and its citizens. It is the first time people see up close the impact of the Games and experience it firsthand—especially those who know someone who is a torch bearer. 

The Torch Relay in France is an unsurprisingly ambitious effort featuring a collaborator by Paris 2024, the territories involved, and its official partners (Coca-Cola, Banques Populaires, and Caisses d’Épargne). Running from May 8th until the games start July 26th, the Relay will tell many stories in its travels. It will highlight eras of French history, famous individuals, and the values and spirit of the country. 

The Olympic Torch Relay route will be an epic journey across France. From May 8th, 2024, the Relay will showcase France’s beauty and diversity, history and exceptional landscapes, knowledge, traditions, and talents. Music, of course, is a big part of the Relay. Coca-Cola is sponsoring eight concerts along the torch route, featuring the likes of Soprano, Alonzo, Lujipeka, Chilla, Santa, and Bianca Costa. 

When the Relay ends, and the competitions begin, Coca-Cola will have various activations around the host communities. Their involvement will also extend to the Olympic and Paralympic competitive arenas. As a critical part of Celebrating Every Day Greatness, Coca-Cola has also inked deals with many athletes for Team Coca-Cola. Their roster includes many athletes, such as the host country Mathilde Gros, an up-and-coming cyclist, and Olympic champions such as Athing Mu (USA, athletics) and Emma Twigg (New Zealand, rowing). These athletes are integral to the campaign as they celebrate the little things happening daily in their journey to the biggest stage of their careers. 

Coca-Cola is just four years away from a milestone of 100 years of partnership with the Olympics. Now you have to imagine that will be something to savour.

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