Coca-Cola Russian ‘Torch Relay’ Sochi 2014 Campaign

As the host nation leg of the Winter Olympics torch relay grinds into gear, IOC TOP sponsor Coca-Cola is rolling out its Russian ‘Relay Happiness’ campaign for Sochi 2014.


The campaign is led by a TV spot which adopts the brand’s globally familiar creative style focused on youth gatherings for a torch relay celebration and featuring the tagline ‘Together we will make the torch burn brighter’.



The commercial urges Russians to ‘Sign Up’ to its web based initiative which aims to ensure every citizen becomes a part of ‘Relay Happiness – see https://sochi2014.coca-cola.ru.


As with previous Coca-Cola Olympic Torch Relay sponsorships, the soft drinks giant is running its ‘Coca-Cola Torchbearers’ campaign strand: offering consumers a chance to carry the flame in person (see http://sochi2014.coca-cola.ru/people/).


Indeed, it was back in January 2013 that Coca-Cola kicked off its campaign to select 2,014 torchbearers, when it announced its independent selection jury (of renowned Russian athletes, actors and musicians – including Olympic champion and Youth Olympic Games Ambassador Yelena Isinbayeva, Olympic champion and Sochi 2014 Ambassador Alexander Ovechkin, Russian rock star Ilya Lagutenko, and Russian TV presenter and actress Tatyana Lazareva) who chose the torchbearers.


The competition, which ran until 17 March and was open to Russian citizens aged 14, drove applications through the Coca-Cola website http://www.coca-cola.ru/over.


The nomination jury unveiling took place on 17 January when Coca-Cola launched of its week-long Moscow exhibition ‘Coca-Cola. Carry the Olympic Flame. Vlivaisya!’. This show featured exhibits from past Olympic Torch Relays, including torches, torchbearers’ uniform, plus exclusive photos and memorabilia from the Moscow 1980 Olympic Winter Games.


This was followed up on 25 January with an exhibition titled ‘History & Future of the Olympic Torch Relay with Coca-Cola’ which set out from Moscow and go on a 13-city tour of Russia.


Long time Olympic sponsor Coca‑Cola (an IOC partner since 1928) has been involved with the Torch Relay since Barcelona 1992 and Sochi sees the company take up the role as Presenting Partner for the Olympic Torch Relay for the ninth time.


It uses the platform to help to spread Games-related excitement and Coke-related happiness in local communities right across the globe.


For next year’s Winter Games the flame was lit (as ever) in Olympia, Greece on 29 September 2013 and professional ice hockey winger & ambassador for Sochi 2014 Alexander Ovechkin (who is also a member of the Coca-Cola Torchbearer nomination campaign jury) was at the ceremony where he became the first Russian to carry the Sochi flame.


At the heart of the Sochi 2014 torch design lies the idea of contrast – specifically the juxtaposition of tradition and future.


Based on elements blending classic Russian fairy tales to technological breakthroughs, the torch’s silhouette aims to reflect the magic of the Firebird (bringing luck and happiness) with the traditional combination of red (which has featured on Russian flags, banners and pennants since the 13th century) and the silver (representing cutting edge design and looking to the future).


The Relay initially sees 250 bearers carrying the flat through Greece, but by 6 October it arrived in the host nation’s capital Moscow where it begin its 65,000km journey across Russia carried by 14,000 people.


According to the organiser, a whopping 90% of the Russian population (some 130 million people) will be within an hour’s reach of the 123 day-long Torch Relay route – which will see 14,000 torchbearers carry the flame.


Joining Coca-Cola as presenting partners of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay are Russian insurance outfit OSAO Ingosstrakh and OAO Russian Railways.


Ingosstrakh has been a partner of Sochi 2014 since 2010 and is the official insurer of the 2014 Olympic Games. This is the second time the financial services brand has been an Olympic sponsor as it also was the official supplier of insurance at the 1980 Moscow Games.


In February 2010 OAO ‘Russian Railways Company’ signed up as a General Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2014 and it’s Olympic commitment includes several new rail-related construction projects.


Coinciding with the Torch Relay led host nation domestic campaign, Coca-Cola has also announced its ‘Four-Pack’ of US Winter Olympic Team athlete ambassadors for Sochi 2014.


The four stars – skaters Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek, skier Ted Ligety and para-snowboarder Amy Purdy – were unveiled at a Boston launch event where it was announced they will front Coke’s Sochi 2014 marketing across advertising, digital activation, on-pack initiatives and retail point-of-sale work.


The Coca-Cola ‘Four Pack’ will also serve as ‘Ambassadors of Active Living’ with the objective of encouraging and inspiring fans to lead healthy, balanced lifestyles.


This marks the fourth consecutive time that Coca-Cola has activated its US Olympic rights with a collection of athletes at the core of its Games marketing program. Its Beijing 2008 ‘Six Pack’ won 14 medals, while its Vancouver 2010 ‘Six Pack’ won four and the London 2012 ‘Eight Pack’ won 12.




As the Torch Relay got underway, protest against and media coverage of the introduction of new Russian legislation outlawing ‘homosexual propaganda’ in June spiked around the world.


From athletes and sports organisers, to high profile individuals and politicians took to the media to debate the legislation, protest against it and even campaign for a Sochi 2014 boycott.


The direct effect saw both the rights owner and several partners make official statements on the issue, while the indirect effects in the sponsorship industry sees the IOC questioned about whether the legislation contravenes its own Olympic charter and has reportedly led to official partners holding back on their Games activation.


Coca-Cola Statement:


“As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity.  We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.


As an Olympic sponsor since 1928, we believe the Olympic Games are a force for good that unite people through a common interest in sports, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact and long-lasting legacy they leave on every community that has been a host.


We support the core values of the Olympic Movement – excellence, friendship and respect – and are proud to continue our role in helping to make the Olympics a memorable experience for athletes, fans and communities all around the world. We are engaging with the International Olympic Committee on this important matter.


We believe a more positive impact can be made through continued involvement, rather than by sitting on the sidelines.


Our actions and policies demonstrating our support for the LGBT community include the following:


  • – We have a long-standing HR policy protecting our employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
  • – We have a Global Mutual Respect Policy that sets out our expectations for how employees should treat one another as well as anyone they interact with as a representative of The Coca-Cola Company.  The policy outlines our commitment to valuing diversity and inclusion and providing a workplace free of discrimination or harassment. You can read more about this at:  http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/global-mutual-respect-policy
  • – We have scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index every year since it was launched in 2006.
  • – We have had an LGBT Business Resource Group at the Company for 13 years that is funded and supported through the Chief Diversity Officer’s department.
  • – We were one of the first companies in the U.S. to publicly support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to protect employees from discrimination due to sexual orientation.
  • Coca-Cola helped found and was an active supporter of Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS, a joint U.S.-Russian organization that fought AIDS and discrimination against HIV-positive people. This organization became a part of the Global Business Coalition onHealth.
  • – Our Global Supplier Diversity team participates in outreach events such as the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Awards Dinner, the NGLCC Business and Leadership Conference, and the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Corporate Sponsors Reception.


We will continue to promote our values for diversity and tolerance around the world through our policies and actions.”




Coca-Cola Sochi 2014 Russian Website



Coca-Cola Sochi 2014 TV Commercial



Coca-Cola Russian Website



Coca-Cola Website Sochi 2014 Diversity Statement



Coca-Cola Website



IOC Website



Sochi 2014 Website



Sochi 2014 Partners





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