“You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.” – Andy Warhol

That’s how, in his autobiography, Andy Warhol described the most fascinating aspect of Coca-Cola, the first in a series of commercial brands to inspire works which would bring the artist worldwide renown: the drink embodies an idea of universality and democracy, it can be appreciated by anyone because it is readily accessible and it’s the same for everyone, rather like his artwork. To be really universal however, a drink can only be represented by a truly all-inclusive brand. This is why we at Coca-Cola are proud to support Milan Pride which will enliven the city for the week culminating in the traditional parade on June 30.

Taking part in this celebration of LGBTI pride is an honour and demonstrates anew our commitment to promoting a thoroughly all-embracing culture.

Already a winner of a Diversity Brand Award 2018, for being perceived as the most inclusive of brands, Coca-Cola decided to participate for the first time in the Italian edition of this event, which each year brightens up the streets of Milan with rainbow colours and promotes a concept we hold dear: to celebrate universal love, a love which unites all, independently of prejudices and labels, and which encourages conviviality and brings people together, objectives that have always been in our DNA.

This partnership is just the latest of the Coca-Cola initiatives on inclusion in Italy because we believe in the value of diversity as a trigger for positive energy and opportunity.

We started with ourselves: for the over 2,000 people who work in the Coca-Cola offices, factories and sales force, recruitment, employment and training conditions as well as salary scales and career advancement are based on skills, results and experience.

Even before same-sex unions were legally recognised in Italy, our people were granted those rights that we believe are capable of creating a welcoming working environment, where everyone can freely express their talent. Small but significant things, such as the extension of health insurance to same-sex partners, have been in force for years. With a view to continuous improvement of personnel policies, Coca-Cola HBC Italy signed up to Parks - Liberi e Uguali, an association that strives to improve the management of human resources.

We believe it is the duty of companies to go beyond the confines of their office and factory space to play an active role in the communities in which they operate. This very objective is achieved outside the company through our support for events such as Milan Pride and targeted advertising campaigns: it started with the ground-breaking Hilltop commercial of the seventies, a hymn to unity with young people of all races singing together and holding a candle in their hands. In more recent times, Pool Boy from 2017 gives a nod and a wink to universal love with a boy and a girl competing to win the smile of a handsome lifeguard by offering him an iced Coca-Cola. The Wonder of Us, an ad first aired during a major Super Bowl game celebrates the diversity of each person, emphasizing that it is precisely this that makes each of us unique and special.

Cristina Broch
Coca-Cola is well aware that when stories and images referring to any minority appear in the major communication channels, this promotes a more inclusive society.

The more successful a company is, the more responsibility it carries towards the society in which it operates.  This means that companies like ours which enjoy global recognition can actively contribute to promoting a more inclusive culture.

Cristina Broch is director of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola Italy.