We all love our local community. It’s where we feel safe, comfortable and close to family and friends. It’s also where our children can grow, learn and, most importantly, play.

But in many communities, children lack a safe, clean and stimulating space to play. This is a particular problem in cities – in many cases, the bigger the city, the less space there is for recreation.

In Germany, Coca-Cola has been working hard through the Fanta brand to tackle this challenge through its award-winning and highly popular Fanta Playground initiative.

Now in its fourth year, Fanta Playground gives communities across Germany the chance to nominate local playgrounds to receive funding for refurbishment and improvements. All kinds of people can get involved, from local authorities and associations to individuals, parents and grandparents.

The 2015 €20,000 top prize is double last year's jackpot, with a total of €185,000 up for grabs this year. The playground with the most votes will receive the first prize, the second and third will get €10,000, number four through 15 will receive €5,000 and the remaining 85 will win €1,000. In total, 100 playgrounds will be awarded with grants from Coca-Cola Germany, helping to create safe and creative play environments from the forests of Bavaria to the North Sea coast.

The nomination phase for the contest opened at the beginning of April, giving people until June 7 to register at http://spielplatzinitiative.fanta.de and nominate their chosen playground. A major marketing campaign – including a huge drive across social media – will encourage people to vote for the playgrounds they want to win. 

In 2014, nearly 1 million people logged onto the site, with 400,000 voting for their favorite playgrounds. Coca-Cola Germany expects even more this year, as awareness of the program continues to rise.

‘100 Playgrounds in 100 Days’

When votes are in and the 100 winning playgrounds are determined, renovations will begin on Aug. 1, lasting for 100 days. This has earned the program its well-known motto: “100 Playgrounds in 100 Days.” Work on the playgrounds is done in close collaboration with parents and stakeholders, to ensure they are ideally suited to the needs of local children.

"We urge all parents, friends and relatives to campaign for their local playground. Children have a basic right to play, but the space for them to do so is scarce and often unsafe. Fanta Playground is dedicated to addressing this growing social problem and, together with parents, friends and relatives, we want to bring more creativity and inspiration to local playgrounds. This is a campaign that says, ‘Coke is your good neighbor in Germany,’” says Thorsten Sperlich, head of Brand PR, Coca-Cola Germany.

Reflecting this local sensitivity, Fanta Playground ensures that the brand is neither visible at refurbished playgrounds nor in children’s media. It is also firmly focused on local public playgrounds, and not designed to help kindergartens, day care centres or schools refurbish their facilities. They are prohibited from taking part.

This policy is taken very seriously. “Not only is Fanta Playground an award-winning CSR program; it is also true to Fanta’s brand vision to ‘create more play in the world.’ Our goal is to use the high profile of our brand to draw attention to the socially relevant topic of creative play and to support the redevelopment of playgrounds,” adds Hannylyne Heil, brand manager ,Fanta. 

Making a difference

Run by Coca-Cola Germany in conjunction with its partners, the German Children's Fund and the TÜV Rheinland, Fanta Playground has had a profound effect. During the three previous years in which it has run, more than 300 playgrounds have been transformed around the country, over 900 applications have been submitted by municipalities, institutions and parents and Coca-Cola Germany has donated over €650,000. A further €115,000 has been given through cooperation with external partners.

Fanta Playground: Fast Facts

Launched: March 2012

Partners: Fanta Germany, German Children's Fund, TÜV Rheinland

Motto: "100 playgrounds in 100 days"

Prizes: Winner, €20,000; Places 2 – 3, €10,000; 4-15, €5,000 ; 16-100, €1,000

Total donations in 2015: €184,000

Milestones: More than 900 applications, 300 playgrounds renovated and €650,000 donated by Fanta

Media coverage: around 1,000 articles appeared in print and online (2014 campaign)

Awards: German “Politics Award 2013” in the category of CSR

More information about Fanta Playground can be found at www.fanta.de/spielplatzinitiative  and www.facebook.com/fantaspielspass.