A UK politician wants to end Britain’s tradition of roaming illuminated Coca Cola trucks because sugary drinks are contributing to childhood obesity. His remarks have caused a media frenzy in Europe.
Started in 1995, the tradition in the UK is for lighted Coca Cola trucks to travel from one shopping center to another. The simple but festive tradition draws millions of fans annually and has become a signature British tradition of Christmas.
“At each stop, family and friends will have the chance to take pictures with the truck as it lights up, and experience a snowy winter wonderland setting while enjoying a choice of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero or Coke Life,” a press release from the company read prior to last year’s tour. The twinkling truck fleet was conceived in 1995, after one appeared on television in a wildly successful seasonal advertising campaign.
This week, Councillor Richard Kemp, who heads the Liberal Democrats on Liverpool City Council, said that he was “appalled” by last year’s Coca Cola promotion and called for shopping mall owners to ban the trucks on the same day that the government unveiled a new “Childhood Obesity Strategy.”
“There is one thing on which everyone agrees.” Kemp said. “Too many children are drinking too many fizzy, sugary drinks. That is why last year in the run-up to Christmas, I was appalled to see a big promotion by Coca-Cola when its red van visited Liverpool as part of its advertising campaign tour around the country.”
“To my mind this glorifies the sale of something which is often consumed in vast quantities with people having little knowledge of just how dangerous the sugar content can be to the long-term health of them and their children.”
When asked if he had ever heard of Burgermeister Meisterburger Kemp turned red and said, “No.”