Coca-Cola Hellenic Ireland on the 26th November announced details of the tenth annual Designated Driver campaign. The company has invested €6m in the award-winning campaign over the past decade to help promote road safety during the Christmas period. By working closely with the licensed trade, the company offers the designated driver in a group the opportunity to avail of free bottled water, juice and soft drinks. The campaign has been fully supported by An Garda Siochana, the Road Safety Authority, the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the Licensed Vintners Association and the Irish Hotels Federation.
The Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign, a concept created by Irish employees of the global drinks company, was launched in Ireland ten years ago this month against a backdrop of rising concern about the number of alcohol-related fatalities on Irish roads.
The initiative, which originally started as a pilot in the lead up to Christmas 2004, has grown to become a high profile annual campaign endorsed by An Garda Siochana and the Road Safety Authority and has been availed of by thousands of designated drivers who transport their friends to and from the pub during the festive season. Since 2004 the campaign has evolved and expanded, so much so that it has been adopted by Coca-Cola in other markets – including Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The model has transferred well to other countries and has been credited for successfully contributing towards a culture of greater road safety in those countries. In 2009, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland was awarded an All Ireland Marketing award for Best Corporate Responsibility Campaign for the Designated Driver programme.
Speaking at the launch of the 2014 Designated Driver programme, which went live in 1200 participating venues Friday November 28th, Coca-Cola Hellenic Ireland CEO Frank O’Donnell said: “Coca-Cola is proud to have invested more than €6 million in Designated Driver over the past ten years. Christmas is a festive and fun time of year which tends to be associated with socialising and celebrating with families and friends. All too often we hear of reports where these events have ended in tragedy. We wish to recognise the continued work and commitment of the Gardai and of the Road Safety Authority to help address the ongoing challenge of accidents on our roads and we hope that our annual campaign helps to both raise awareness of road safety while also giving people a real and free alternative when sitting in the pub with friends.”
Giving the campaign his full endorsement is Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Pascal Donohue T.D. who attended the launch of this year’s campaign in Dublin: “Any measure that encourages and promotes road safety is to be applauded. The Coca-Cola Designated driver campaign rewards those who take responsibility for driving friends and family to and from events and gatherings during the busy festive season. By offering free soft drinks and bottled water to designated drivers, Coca-Cola recognizes the importance of incentivizing drivers to remain alcohol free, which in turn makes our roads safer. This initiative demonstrates corporate social responsibility at its best and is supported by my Department, An Garda Siochana and the RSA, among others. Christmas is traditionally a time where people get together to celebrate and have fun. The offer of free soft drinks is a fitting way to thank our designated drivers for the part they play in ensuring our roads remain safe over the holiday period”.
Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey also endorsed the campaign:“An Garda Síochána is delighted to be associated with the Coca Cola designated driver safety initiative. For the past 10 years, drivers have been encouraged to act responsibly by leaving alcohol out of the equation on their night out – whilst being rewarded with a free soft drink. This makes it safer for all out socialising and helps ensure people get home safely, which is what we all want. There will be many nights out and social occasions over the next few weeks in the run up to Christmas so we would encourage all drivers to avail of this initiative. It’s a win-win for all.”
Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority added: “The RSA is once again very happy to give its backing to the Coca-Cola designated driver campaign. This is a really important initiative encouraging drivers to do the right thing by not drinking and driving. I’d really like to commend Coca Cola for running the campaign for the last decade. As a company they have shown leadership in developing what has become a very positive way to change our habits in relation to drinking and driving in Ireland. So this year the message is again for everyone to take responsibility for their driving habits as we enter the Christmas party going season. Leave the car keys at home and remove the temptation to driver altogether, or use public transport or a taxi. As always the option when heading out in a group is to designate a driver and thanks to Coca Cola we can reward them for keeping our roads safe.”
A Designated Driver is defined as someone who is driving friends and family home from a night out socialising, while abstaining from alcohol for the evening. The Designated Driver may avail of free non-alcoholic beverages from the Coca-Cola range over the course of the evening in participating licensed premises.
Safety-conscious consumers who assume the role of designated driver on a night out will be rewarded with up to three non alcoholic drinks courtesy of Coca-Cola, including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Fanta Orange, Fanta Lemon, Fruice, and Deep RiverRock, still and sparkling.
A full list of participating outlets across the Republic of Ireland that have signed up to offer the free beverages to their customers this Christmas is available at www.designateddriver.ie. Designated drivers will be able to download their free soft drink vouchers before they visit venues as well as locate the outlets offering the service on the handy pub finder map.
The offer will be available to designated drivers in participating premises until December 31st 2014.
Pictured above at the launch of the 2014 Coca-Cola Designated Driver campaign are (from left to right) Frank O’Donnell CEO of Coca-Cola Hellenic Ireland, Minister for Transport Pascal Donohue TD., John Twomey, Assistant Garda Commissioner and Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the Road Safety Authority.