Coca-Cola brings back Christmas promotion for designated drivers

Coca-Cola bottles

Bars and pubs are to run a “buy one get one free” offer across the Coca-Cola European Partners soft drinks range in the company’s “Designated Driver” scheme for Christmas.

The promotion, now in its 10th year, will be available in participating outlets on Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Schweppes Sparkling Juice Drinks and Appletiser to thank people behind the wheel for “Being a Hero” in December.

The campaign is designed to boost licensees’ overall sales by rewarding the designated driver in a group and helping to increase dwell time for the whole party while promoting responsible messages around drinking and driving. Much like previous years, the promotion works particularly well in out-of-town premises that typically tend to be accessed by car.

The scheme has seen much success in previous years, with participating venues’ overall wet sales increasing by almost 9%, according to Edelman Intelligence research, with 88% of licensees stating they would be willing to get involved again.

The initiative is run in partnership with the Department for Transport’s THINK! drink-driving campaign and will be communicated to consumers through radio advertising, PR, social media and a pub-finder website,, that provides a map of all the bars and pubs that will be running the buy-one-get-one-free offer.

Coca-Cola European Partners will be sending 8,000 comprehensive point-of-sale kits to outlets, with promotional materials including posters, bunting and coasters as well as cardboard models of the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck thanking designated drivers for “Being a Hero”. Participating venues will also receive a case of free product to kickstart the promotion.

Paul Grace, director of field sales at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “I was part of the team that introduced this scheme 10 years ago to help licensees connect with two very key audiences during the festive season. Firstly, those that choose not to drink and don’t change their mind on the lead-up to Christmas and secondly our designated driver heroes.

“Both find themselves out socialising in pubs, bars and restaurants more often so making sure they are well catered for with a good well-served range of soft drinks is paramount.

“Often, if the needs of a designated driver are ignored it can mean an early night for the rest of the party, and less money in the till for the licensee. The Coca-Cola Designated Driver programme actively helps the trade increase the dwell time of a whole group whilst promoting responsible messages around drinking and driving and this is why it has reached its milestone 10-year anniversary. I would urge any licensees interested in the scheme to get in contact with us via their local CCEP rep or our Customer Hub.”

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