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SOGO Active, So Goes Coca-Cola

How do you give yourself a healthy makeover if you’re a purveyor of sugar-laden soft drinks?  You give Canadian youth a chance to carry the Olympic torch.

Coca-Cola plans to award 1,000 spots on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay  to youth who participate in SOGO Active,  Coke’s active lifestyle program.

Coke is in an enviable position to dangle such a prize-they’ve been a sponsor of the Olympic Games since 1928. A sponsor with lesser cachet probably wouldn’t have been able to snag so many spots.  Smart move to leverage it as part of campaign to change Coke’s reputation as a contributor to child obesity.

SOGO Active, which is executed by ParticipACTION, shows teenagers (ages 13-19) how to customize and follow an active living program.  Teens who join the program and “make a commitment to active living” will be eligible to win a torchbearing spot through a random draw.

Coca-Cola’s is not trying to defend or change what their product is-notice the emphasis on “active living” versus “healthy living”-but it may succeed as repositioning itself as part of, not detrimental to,  children’s well-being.  SOGO Active will have to be a hit, though.  We’ll see.

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