A few months ago, The Coca-Cola Company selected and flew 26 wide-eyed, eager and lucky associates from 17 different countries to the Company’s largest, most ambitious Olympic Games activation in history—the Move-to-the-Beat campaign at London 2012.
Our 26 Coca-Cola Ambassadors from all parts of the world gather for a colorful group photo in London.
As an 84-year partner of the Olympics, Coca-Cola elected to shake up its 2012 sponsorship and transform London into a creative, beat-bumping hub through Coca-Cola’s global Move-to-the-Beat campaign—an activation designed to get young people moving by connecting them to athletes and Coke in a way they know best: music.
To get Coca-Cola employees in on the music, sports and fun, the Company challenged its global associates to show off their knowledge and moves through the Ambassador Move to the Beat challenge, an online trivia and video contest that awarded winners a trip to the 2012 Olympic Games. Contestants were invited to answer questions like, “Johnny Weissmuller was the first Olympian to endorse Coca-Cola. Which Olympic event did he participate in?” (The answer: high jump)
Employees with the highest scores in the trivia contest advanced and finalists were asked to produce a self-made video showing how they Move to the Beat with Coca-Cola, set to the Mark Ronson/Katy B global campaign anthem “Anywhere in the World.” We highlighted three of these fun video submissions on YouTube:
Once the 26 Coca-Cola Ambassadors were selected, they were asked to pack their bags, kiss their day jobs goodbye and say ’ello to London 2012, as they embarked on a four-day market immersion in Olympic Park.
During their trip, the Coca-Cola Ambassadors cheered at Olympic beach volleyball, swimming and field hockey events. They played in the Coca-Cola Beat Box and even created their own version of “Anywhere in the World” at the infamous Metropolis Music Studios.
Ambassadors kept the beats bumping in the Coca-Cola Beat Box as they experimented with new sounds and tunes.
The group also got to put their athletic skills to the test with kids from Coca-Cola’s community partner, StreetGames—an opportunity that 86 percent of the group said was the most rewarding part of the trip.
“We realized again how our Company has the power to change people’s lives… to add value… and share happiness. I think the words of the boy from StreetGames sums it up quite well: ‘It was the best day of my life!’” said Erdal Kiraz, an associate from the Coca-Cola Eurasia Africa group, in a survey taken after the trip.
Midway through the trip, the Ambassadors paused to volunteer with Coca-Cola’s community partner, StreetGames—a sports charity that supports sports and volunteer projects in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
But through it all, what ambassadors felt inspired by most was the opportunity to connect with Company associates from all over the world in a way that integrated them in the fabric of Coke’s relationship with the Olympics.
Agata Zawadzka and Katarzyna Hussar pose as Olympic champions while they hold the torch overlooking Olympic grounds.
“Working in an international company such as ours, it is vital to connect with colleagues from different countries. This gives you the opportunity to understand the differences the Company faces globally,” said Sarah Clifford, an associate working at Coca-Cola in Ireland. “I met some really great people in London. Meeting people and making connections enriches work.”
Following the trip, Clifford continues to find herself acting as an internal and external ambassador for the Company. She said her participation in StreetGames opened her eyes to the charitable programs Coke provides for communities worldwide—an experience her fellow Coca-Cola Ambassador from Egypt, Sherif Elsakket, believes all Coke employees should be a part of.
“The company should take advantage of any opportunity to integrate employees in projects and sponsorships,” said Elsakket.
As a Coca-Cola Ambassador and former Olympian himself, Elsakket saw a greater opportunity during the trip to build passion and excitement among Company employees through sports. He believes sports “teach great values in life: integrity, hard work, passion, caring, commitment, modesty, enjoyment, reward, power, self-confidence … and many more.” Since his return, Elsakket has been promoting an idea to create a system-wide sports program to connect employees to one another, to the Company and to Coca-Cola’s strong active, healthy living values.
Acting as an example of how sports, Coca-Cola and global ambassadorship can really stir a sense of pride and motivation for the Company, Sherif, Sarah and the 24 other Coca-Cola Ambassadors undoubtedly came home energized and true advocates of Coke.
Being a part of Coca-Cola’s booming Olympic activation was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that, not only sparked a long-lasting sense of ambassadorship within these employees, but stimulated new thoughts, ideas and connections as well. What’s left to wonder is what Coca-Cola and our new-found ambassadors will do to inspire associates next.
Samantha Witthuhn is a Public Affairs and Communications Intern at The Coca-Cola Company.