Fans of the famous Coca-Cola Christmas advert and it’s iconic truck will be relieved to hear that the truck will still be returning to Liverpool on December 5th and 6th, after a brief visit to St. Helens on December 1st. The visit will still be taking place in spite of staunch opposition, predominately from the city branch of the Liberal Democrats but also health professionals who have voiced their dismay.
Opposition to the truck visiting Liverpool has come from the Liberal Democrats and has predominately focused on the issue of obesity. Councillor Richard Kemp, branded Liverpool One as ‘cynical’ for hosting the event. In his letter to Liverpool One bosses, he described that Liverpool was battling an ‘obesity epidemic’. According to research used in Kemp’s letter to Liverpool One bosses, 60% of adults were classified as obese, 30% of 11-year-olds, with 5% of those classified as ‘clinically obese‘. The Councillor’s bemusement to the event comes after health professor, John Ashton, accused Coca-Cola of ‘hijacking Christmas’ – bringing ‘gifts of bad teeth and weight problems’. Whilst obesity is the predominant case for opposition regarding the visit occurring in Liverpool, Mirna Juarez, who is also a Liberal Democrat Councillor provided an alternate case. Juarez argued that Liverpool One was exploiting the event for commercial businesses and there was not a necessity to host the event since retailers would still be benefiting.
Kemp’s viewpoint is one of a minority since popular opinion is still resoundingly in favour of the truck coming to Liverpool One. However, it did receive support from Professor Simon Capewell, from the University’s Department of Public Health and Policy, who asserted that ‘sugary drinks are killing us’ and there should be higher taxes and stricter limits on advertising, as there is with tobacco.
A spokesperson acting on behalf of Coca-Cola Great Britain has responded to Kemp’s dismay. Cola-Cola has stated that there is an option for visitors to receive complimentary cans of Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Zero if they wish to do so. Full-fat, traditional, red cans of Coca-Cola are not the only option.
2017 will mark the seventh year that the Coca-Cola red truck will undertake its traditional pilgrimage through the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. In the last seven years, the truck has traveled approximately 730,000 miles which equates to 29 times around the world. This year, the truck tour will start in Glasgow on November 11th and end at the Lakeside shopping complex in Essex on December 17th. Unsurprisingly, the presence of the iconic vehicle also generates the urge for a traditional selfie and over the last seven years, over 50,000 photos have been captured.