Coca-Cola Korea recruited ambassadors from all walks of life
to help raise awareness for the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which
took place in Pyeongchang from Jan. 29 through Feb. 5.
Special Olympics provides sports
training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for
children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing
opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience
joy with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Coca-Cola has sponsored Special Olympics since its inception in 1968.
The “Coke Red Ribbon Friends” campaign invited 100
Korean celebrities to sport Coca-Cola Red Ribbons and use their collective star power,
social media networks and public appearances to promote the Special Olympics
mission to foster acceptance and inclusion of all people.
More than 30 power bloggers in Korea served as
Coca-Cola ambassadors before and during the Games in Pyeongchang, which also will
host the Winter Olympic Games in 2018. This group of influential “Coke Friends” shared images and
stories of the celebs who proudly wore Coca-Cola Red Ribbons in public or on TV
and promoted the Special Olympics movement by posting Coca-Cola Red Ribbon
banners on their blogs, hosting a unified virtual cheering event and reporting
on the Games in real time.
The Coke Friends continued their ambassadorship in
Pyeongchang by delivering vivid stories from the Coca-Cola Happiness House,
where athletes, friends, families and fans gathered to relax, refresh and have
“Any time I thought of sports and Coca-Cola, the Olympics
and FIFA World Cup used to come to mind. Now it is Special Olympics, without a
doubt,” said a Coke Friend who blogs under the moniker of Hur writer. “It was
gratifying to spread the meaning of Special Olympics to other people, and I am
very happy that I am able to participate in such a meaningful event.”
Coca-Cola associates in Korea were at the heart of the
ambassador program. Employees visited Angels Heaven, a facility for people with
intellectual disabilities, in December to deliver funds raised through a
special year-end auction, and several knitted scarves as a gesture
of encouragement to the Special Olympics athletes competing in Pyeongchang. A group of of 12 employee ambassadors (five from Korea and
seven from China) were selected for an on-site volunteer program, too.
Korean consumers also had
several opportunities to show their support, starting with the Coke Gift Pang
mobile and social media game during the holidays. Coca-Cola Korea made a
donation to Special Olympics under the names of the top-ranking players.
Customers such as McDonald’s and GS25 supported Special Olympics, too, through partnership
More than 2,300 athletes from 110 countries competed in
eight Olympic-type sports at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games:
alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, speed skating,
figure skating, floor hockey and a demonstration sport of floor ball. Coca-Cola Korea hydrated the athletes and tens of thousands
of family members, friends, volunteers and fans.
Globally renowned democracy leader and Nobel Prize winner
Aung San Suu Kyi joined Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent at the
first-ever Special Olympics Global Development Summit held in conjunction with
the Games. Leaders from business, government and civil society addressed
obstacles faced by people with intellectual disabilities around the world, and
how to improve their access to health care, education, housing and employment.
Kent, who serves on the board of Special
Olympics International, invited Aung San Suu Kyi to give the event’s keynote speech. They met
last fall when Coca-Cola resumed operations in Myanmar for the first time in
nearly 60 years.
Aung San Suu Kyi has played an important role in helping
open up her native country. For two decades, she led a non-violent,
pro-democracy movement despite being kept under house arrest by the Southeast
Asian nation’s military leaders for 15 years. She was released in 2010 and is
now Chairperson and General Secretary of the National League of Democracy for