When Coca-Cola parked its “Christmas truck” in the central London neighborhood of Covent Garden last month, the soft drinks giant likely thought that some free soda and holiday decorations in a major shopping area would be an easy opportunity to spread a little bit of marketing good cheer in Coke’s direction.
That is not how it worked out.
Gay rights activists hijacked the celebration. One attempted to climb atop the vehicle and protesters chanted, “Coca-Coal, shame on you!” while holding up posters that said, “Coca-Cola sponsors anti-gay Russian winter Olympics. Boycott Coke!”
Scenes like that have been repeated around the globe in recent months with targets including Coke, McDonald’s and other major multinational corporations sponsoring the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Near Chicago, a group of protesters stood in front of McDonald’s headquarters with a banner that read, “McDonald’s: Stop funding homophobia.” Trucks with billboards that said “Speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws” circled Coca-Cola’s headquarters in October.