Coca-Cola truck in Ar­mistice Day row

MP slams com­mer­cial­ism and urges firm to ‘give us a break’

Western Daily Press - - Front Page - TOM MUR­DOCK tom.mur­dock@reach­plc.com

AN MP has crit­i­cised Co­caCola for plan­ning to bring its Christ­mas truck to a West Coun­try city to spread “holiday cheer” – on Ar­mistice Day.

For­mer cul­ture min­is­ter Ben Brad­shaw said the soft drink gi­ant should re­frain from “ram­pant pre-Christ­mas com­mer­cial­ism” on the day Bri­tain will fall silent to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Coca-Cola’s red lorry – made pop­u­lar by a suc­cess­ful ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign in the late 1990s – has be­come a big at­trac­tion since it be­gan tour­ing the coun­try in the run-up to Christ­mas.

This year it is sched­uled to make sev­eral stops in the West, in­clud­ing a visit to Ex­eter in Devon on Novem- ber 11. But Mr Brad­shaw, the Labour MP for Ex­eter, said that date should be re­served as a “spe­cial day of remembrance”.

He said: “I don’t want to be a Scrooge, but couldn’t Coca-Cola give us a break from this on Remembrance Sun­day?

“This year’s is par­tic­u­larly poignant given it falls on the 100th an­niver­sary of Ar­mistice Day at the end of the First World War.

“It may be too late to turn back the clock on the ram­pant pre-Christ­mas com­mer­cial­ism that now starts sev­eral weeks be­fore Ad­vent, but it would be nice to have a break from it on this spe­cial day of remembrance.”

The Coca-Cola Christ­mas Truck Tour, which will also visit Taun­ton and Bris­tol, is now in its eighth year.

Coca-Cola says it pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to en­joy its “8,772 twin­kling fairy lights” and a chance to lis­ten to the Hol­i­days Are Com­ing jin­gle

Vis­i­tors will also re­ceive a free 150ml can of Coca-Cola zero sugar, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Orig­i­nal Taste.

An­nounc­ing the tour on Mon­day, Alec Mel­lor, the mar­ket­ing man­ager for Coca-Cola Great Bri­tain, said: “We can’t wait to start spread­ing hol- iday cheer across the UK with the re­turn of our iconic red truck.”

Yes­ter­day a spokesper­son for Coca-Cola said: “We are look­ing for­ward to vis­it­ing Ex­eter this week­end as part of our an­nual Christ­mas Truck Tour.

“We know Remembrance Sun­day is an im­por­tant and sig­nif­i­cant day for peo­ple both here and else­where. That’s why the event will not be­gin un­til 12pm.

“As we have done in pre­vi­ous years, we will be en­cour­ag­ing all of our crew on the truck tour to wear a poppy if they wish to and we will en­sure the two-minute since at 11am is prop­erly ob­served by our team when they are set­ting up.”

Ex­eter is the sec­ond stop on this year’s Coca-Cola Christ­mas Truck Tour, which be­gins to­day.

The truck will be in Princesshay – Ex­eter’s main shop­ping cen­tre – on November 10 and 11, from noon un­til 8pm..

It will then move on to Asda in Taun­ton on November 13, be­fore pitch­ing up at The Mall at Cribbs Cause­way, Bris­tol, on November 24 and 25.

It will also visit Pier Ap­proach in Bournemouth on December 1 and 2.

We will be en­cour­ag­ing all of our crew on the truck tour to wear a poppy if they wish to

COCA-COLA SPOKESPER­SON

The Coca-Cola truck vis­it­ing Cribbs Cause­way in Bris­tol last year

Coca-Cola’s red lorry dur­ing its na­tion­wide tour last year

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