Innocent has pole-vaulted its way onto the podium of Olympic sponsors after leveraging the fi nancial muscle of its majority stakeholder Coca-Cola, The Grocer can reveal.
The smoothie maker, 60% owned by Coca-Cola, becomes the offi cial juice and smoothie provider of London 2012 and the Paralympic Games.
It declined to disclose the terms of the deal. However, Coca-Cola is one of 11 global partners of the International Olympic Committee – a tie-up thought to be worth about $100m – and owns sole distribution rights for all soft drinks at Olympic venues.
Innocent marketing director Thomas Delabriere said Innocent was “a great fi t” for London 2012. “We’re a London company and all about health,” he said. “The Games are also going to be the most sustainable of all time and that’s at the heart of our brand.”
Coca-Cola upped its stake in Innocent last year and Delabriere admitted the deal couldn’t have happened without that backing. “I went to see Coke and asked if we could leverage that relationship with the Olympics,” he said. “The fact is that because of this relationship, we have the opportunity to provide more healthy products to more people.”
Delabriere, a former UK marketing director for Coca-Cola’s arch rival PepsiCo, said Innocent had maintained its independent ethos despite Coke’s majority stake.
“We will manage the sponsorship of the Olympics as an independent company in just the same way as we run as an independent company despite the part-ownership,” he said.
Innocent is now planning a major campaign of on-pack activation, digital communication, live events and in-store marketing to back its sponsorship. Coca-Cola has sponsored the Olympics since 1928, but the distribution rights will allow it to plug not only Innocent but Powerade and Abbey Well.
“At the 1948 London Olympic Games, Coca-Cola off ered only Coca-Cola,” he said. “We anticipate that 75% of the volume of drinks we will sell at London 2012 will be water, juice or smoothies.”
Last month, Coca-Cola Great Britain & Ireland country manager Jon Wood also claimed the soft drink giant’s sponsorship of London 2012 would encourage a “leap forward in sustainable behaviour”.
This week, fellow IOC global partner Procter & Gamble revealed that star athletes would promote its individual brands.
And In September, The Grocer revealed that cereal bar brand Nature Valley secured tier three sponsorship as the offi cial cereal snack bar of London 2012 and the Paralympic Games