"We've been doing good things for 132 years, and we're just now starting to talk about it," Caren Pasquale Seckler, VP of social commitment for Coca-Cola North America, said Tuesday during an interview on Cheddar.

Pasquale Seckler stopped by the post-cable network’s studios to explain why Coca-Cola – the largest small business in America – is reminding its neighbors of both its ties to local communities and expanding portfolio of beverages.

"We are extremely local," Pasquale Seckler explained, adding that The Coca-Cola Company and its family of 68 independent bottlers employ 90,000 employees in communities across the country.

She continued, “Many consumers feel like we’re this big company out of Atlanta. Sometimes they need to be reminded we’re right in their backyard, and that we’re partnering with them to make our communities better. The reality is we are striving to do good in both the products we make and the actions we take. And because no one knows that story, we’re trying to tell it more.”

Coca-Cola Co. USA recently debuted a new commercial called “Dear Future” and announced a grassroots challenge inviting young adults to vie for grant funding and mentoring resources to support local community programs. These efforts anchor the company’s effort to re-introduce Coca-Cola not just as the global brand people know and love, but also as a total beverage company with deep local roots and a longstanding commitment to making a difference in the communities it proudly serves.


The story is being told through a local lens and employee voices. TV, print and digital creative will highlight Coke’s diverse beverage portfolio – from ZICO Coconut Water, to Odwalla juice, to smartwater – and show how the company and its people are making an impact in local communities through a focus on job creation, environmental sustainability, education, disaster relief and more.

“Young people especially appreciate authenticity, transparency and humility,” Pasquale Seckler said. “And frankly that’s who we are… But we’re not talking about it in a chest-beating way. We’re giving the facts and we’re inviting them to participate so we can write the next chapter with them.”

Through Oct. 15, 18 to 24-year-olds across the U.S. can submit ideas to tackle community-specific challenges at coke.com/dearfuturecommunity. Coca-Cola USA partnered with local bottlers and partners to identify issues that matter to local communities across the country and are grounded in its #CocaColaRenew priorities – from recycling in Boston, to getting women and girls involved in public service in Los Angeles, to helping military veterans transition to civilian careers in Dallas.

Coca-Cola and its local bottlers will team up with Coca-Cola Scholars and community partners to evaluate submissions and award $30,000 grants to 17 change-making ideas. These community leaders will mentor and collaborate with the winners to make their visions a reality by early 2019.

“We believe our future is about young people,” Pasquale Seckler added. “They have the passion, energy and potential to be future leaders… This is about us inspiring and being inspired by their ideas to strengthen and renew their hometowns across the country.”