Coca-Cola Designated Driver


The Designated Driver campaign is the flagship Christmas CSR initiative by Coca-Cola HBC Ireland/Northern Ireland. In place for the last 12 years, the campaign helps to keep roads safe by offering two free soft drinks to designated drivers during the Christmas period.

The challenge for 2016 was to re-energise the message by connecting with stakeholders and consumers, and by breathing new life into the long-running campaign.

Edelman unlocked an important truth, through research, that every Irish person is a designated driver at some point over the festive period and that these drivers play a central role in enabling Christmas traditions.

With this insight, our campaign positioned Coca-Cola as the ‘Designated Driver of Christmas Traditions’, taking to the road to unlock Ireland’s favourite Christmas traditions with storytellers, Tommy Bowe and comedian Andrew Stanley.


The campaign adopted an integrated story-telling approach to drive relevancy and recall. A media launch day was held with Tommy Bowe, rooted in his own Christmas tradition - Tommy’s ‘Christmas Morning Swim’. A social media fuelled road trip hosted by Andrew and Tommy saw them explore Christmas traditions in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Galway.

The rich content was shared across their owned channels including Facebook Live and Snapchat Stories. A crowd sourced map of Christmas traditions, by illustrator Kaithi Burke, was compiled of all of their stops along the way. Local people were also encouraged to share their Christmas traditions across social media. Visits by Tommy and Andrew to pubs across the country placed customers at the heart of the story.

Exceptional earned media story placement was coupled with strong message delivery and was reinforced by social content, photography and ambassador soundbites.



This year’s Designated Driver campaign captured the imagination of the consumer with a fun, fresh and festive approach, highlighting Coca-Cola’s CSR credentials as well as raising awareness of the 330ml glass bottles and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar product. Positioning Coca-Cola as the ‘Designated Driver of Christmas Traditions’ created momentum and engagement across the campaign period, amplifying the activity of launch day. Recruiting storytellers Tommy Bowe and Andrew Stanley played an integral part in the success of the campaign, with the search for Christmas traditions driving engagement nationally through earned and social media. The campaign was transformed in 2016 from a worthy CSR initiative into an emotive, integrated brand campaign driving trust and a positive commercial impact.

The campaign achieved an unprecedented story reach of 10.2M, three times the reach of previous years’ campaigns. Exceptional story placement was coupled with strong message delivery, reinforced at every point from social content and storyboards, to photography and ambassador soundbites.

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``Edelman Ireland were appointed in November 2016 with the task of breathing new life into ‘Designated Driver’, our much-loved Christmas CSR campaign. We were impressed by Edelman’s expertise and insights from the outset, and agreed on an integrated communications strategy that we were confident would deliver our business objectives. The team’s creative approach and professionalism was second-to-none throughout the campaign. Management of media, social media, and our ambassadors far surpassed our expectations and the resulting coverage speaks for itself. In addition to delivering greater awareness of this initiative, which aims to keep our roads safe at Christmas, we also enhanced relationships with our customers and stakeholders, and commercially, saw a boost to channel sales for the period.``

Ciara Cashen - Public Affairs & Communications Manager

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