Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ParticipACTION's Kelly Murumets explains their partnership with Coca Cola

ParticipACTION's Kelly Murumets accepting her Live Positively Award from Coca Cola's Nikos Koumettis

I've blogged about it many times before, but recently the Ottawa Citizen's Joanne Laucius decided to tackle the oxymoron that is the ParticipACTION/Coca-Cola partnership.

The deal Coca Cola made with ParticpACTION is worth $5,000,000 over 5 years. Hardly a huge amount of money to be partnered up with one of the most recognizable and well respected brands in Canada. In fact I'd venture that companies would have been lined up out the door trying to attach themselves to ParticipACTION's heritage brand coattails.

But apparently ParticipACTION was picky. They didn't want to partner with just anybody, they wanted to partner with Coca Cola. ParticipACTION's President and Coca Cola award recipient Kelly Murumets calls Coca Cola, "a responsible, effective partner". Never mind the fact that improving Coca-Cola's brand image will help to sell sugar sweetened beverages - a causal factor in childhood obesity. Never mind the fact that Coca-Cola and ParticipACTION's recent co-branded advertising campaign purposely misdirects people about calories. Coca-Cola knows what kids want (sugar-sweetened beverages?) and so they're the perfect partner?

How so Kelly?
"If we had partnered with an insurance company, we would not get kids' attention and get commitment to behaviour change"
Why not? Doesn't ParticipACTION have the brand awareness necessary to make advertising headway?

According to Laucius' article, ParticipACTION's own partnership strategy document spells out what's in it for Coke,
"an effective partnership will leverage and extend each partner's assets (and partnerships) will further your own mission, but will also offer a return on investment for your partner organization."
So while ParticipACTION is as unlikely to impact on childhood obesity rates this time around as last (during the original 30 year reign of ParticipACTION childhood obesity rates rose by nearly 300%), one thing they'll certainly be able to do. They'll be able to offer Coca-Cola a return on their investment.


ParticipACTION will help Coca Cola sell more Coke.