The holidays are coming, meaning Coca-Cola’s annual festive truck tour will once again be hitting the roads of the UK.
The two 14-tonne lorries decorated with fairy lights and offering free 150ml cans of Coca-Cola, Zero Sugar and Diet Coke have been welcomed by councils and shopping centres since 1995.
The vehicles are also a regular fixture of television adverts throughout the Christmas period.
In 2020, Coca-Cola’s Christmas truck failed to make its annual tour of the UK for the first time in 10 years, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The previous Christmas, the truck visited 19 locations throughout November and December, before making its final stop in London.
It’s back again in 2021, but where will the festive truck be appearing this year?
Here is everything you need to know about it.
Where will the truck stop in 2021?
This year, Coca-Cola says its Christmas truck is “planning to stop off at as many cities around the UK as possible”.
Rather than announcing all of the dates and locations at once, the soft drinks giant will be revealing the cities the truck will be visiting over the next few weeks on social media and its website.
That’s because it doesn’t “want to spoil the surprise just yet”.
The confirmed dates so far are as follows:
24 - 25 November: Glasgow, Silverburn Shopping Centre
26 November: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Metro Shopping Centre
27 - 28 November: Leeds, White Rose Shopping Centre
We’ll update this article with more confirmed dates as and when they become available.
Why are some people opposed to the truck?
In 2018, Coca-Cola scaled back its annual Christmas truck tour as a charity claimed resistance was growing to the company giving out free sugary drinks.
Sugar Smart UK campaign coordinator Vera Zakharov said: “Bizarrely, Coca-Cola equates handing out their sugary products with the start of the cherished holiday season, which has nothing to do with fizzy drinks.
“But this strategy takes on a sinister tone when you consider that the Coke truck visits areas with some of the worst health problems in the country.”
Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola UK and Ireland, said the company expected 90% of the drinks given out on the tour to be zero sugar, and none would be given to children under 12 without a parent present.
In 2017, Duncan Selbie, the chief executive of Public Health England (PHE), criticised the soft drink giant’s annual PR stunt, saying “big-name brands touring the country at Christmas to advertise their most sugary products to children and boost sales does nothing to help families make healthy choices and wider efforts to combat childhood obesity and rotten teeth”.
“Every year the Coca-Cola Christmas truck gives away its products to children and families as it tours the UK. Much of this is no sugar or diet variants, signalling a welcome change in people’s preferences.
“PHE would like to see the tour give away 100% no sugar products and consider its use of the iconic brand in its approach to marketing and sales.”
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