OCTOBER 3, 2005
A lot of fizz about Coca-Cola
There are reports in England that Coca-Cola may be interested in a major sponsorship programme in Formula 1. Such a deal has always made sense from a marketing point of view but nothing was ever possible because of Coca-Cola's aversion to Formula 1's fixation with tobacco. The rumours that there might be deals in the offing now do not thus ring true as F1 continues to cling to tobacco as much as it possibly can, in spite of all the anti-tobacco legislation around the world.
Coca-Cola has a series of long-established sponsorships. It has had links with the Olympic Games since 1928, is heavily involved in soccer with FIFA and has a number of deals with NASCAR including sponsorship of a group of drivers under the Coca-Cola Racing Family banner, official supplier status with NASCAR for Coke (soft drink), Dasani (water) and Minute Maid (juice). It is also the sponsor of the annual Memorial Day 600-mile NASCAR race at Charlotte.
There is an argument that Coca-Cola is keen to take on Red Bull and to use F1's penetration of the Asian markets but it sounds more likely that if there is any interest from Atlanta, Coke's headquarters, it will be with the automobile manufacturers, as iSe, the marketing company which is working on a rival series to F1, has strong links with Coca-Cola from its other sporting activities.
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