Communicating through the "world game", for brand and corporate reputation
A Coca-Cola Great Britain case study



Football, Coca-Cola, communication, support, fans, game, environment, effectiveness, sponsorship, advertising, clubs, SweeperZone, marketing, brand.


Football is the 'world game' and Coca-Cola is the brand name of the world's biggest selling soft drink, so it is hardly surprising that the two have become closely linked.

From this lengthy relationship, the Company has a deep understanding of the game and of the excitement of football fans.

One of The Coca-Cola Company's core values is to "support and strengthen our communities" and Coca-Cola has taken a unique and innovative approach to local communities through the development of its football-related programmes.

Creating strong relationships is at the heart of any successful business.

Strong grass-roots programmes that introduce young people to football in a supportive environment is also the best way of building and sustaining football at international level.

Because of its central position in the lives of many GB citizens, football plays a key role in Coca-Cola GB's marketing activities.

The Company's focus is on the football fan rather than football itself and Coca-Cola sees itself not as an external sponsor of football but as a 'football insider'.

Coca Cola operates at four main levels:

International: world cup, European Championship

  • High level Domestic: Premiership in England and Premier League in Scotland
  • Local Clubs/Community: Sweeper Zone Programme, local relationships with clubs
  • Grass roots: the Schools Football Associations in England and Scotland, local full-time/part-time professional football teams.

Coca-Cola supports good practice in the use of mascots, whereby children enter competitions that allow them to be their clubs' mascot.

High Level Domestic: Premiership in England and Premier League in Scotland A major element of the football sponsorship of Coca-Cola is the TV sponsorship of ITV's weekly football programme The Premiership, which is shown in both England and Scotland and is a 'must' for most followers of the professional game.

The sponsorship takes the form of idents or 'bumper breaks' at the start of the programme, and, before and after the advertising breaks.

Learning outcomes:

As a result of carefully reading this case study, students should be able to:

  • know that the game of football operates at many different levels
  • know that Coca-Cola has a long history of supporting football
  • differentiate between sponsoring as an 'outsider' and supporting as an 'insider'
  • appreciate the marketing opportunities that football offers major brands
  • describe the main purposes of communication and its key elements
  • identify some barriers to good communication
  • suggest ways of making communication more effective
  • explain ways of evaluating its effectiveness.

Coca-Cola Great Britain | Communicating through the "world game", for brand and corporate reputation


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