With the first ball having been bowled, the excitement for the ICC World Cup 2019 is now peaking across the globe. At the Coca-Cola office in Gurgaon, there is even more reason to celebrate. When an internal announcement for a partnership between Coca-Cola and the International Cricket Council was first made in January 2019, it was a proud moment for everyone at Coca-Cola. But when the trophy came to the office, the employees could not contain their excitement!
“Only at Coca-Cola can I ever imagine something like this happening! Never in my life could I have hoped to get a picture clicked with the ICC World Cup winners’ trophy. It’s all very surreal,” said a visibly thrilled Trishla Gupta, an intern at the Coca-Cola office.
"Getting a picture clicked with the ICC World Cup trophy, which the winners will have in their hands is like a dream come true,” Rajiv Gupta, who leads Coca-Cola’s water initiatives, said.
But that was not all. The biggest surprise was yet to come. At an all-employee meeting, President T. Krishnakumar truly bowled everyone over. Amidst thunderous applause, he announced that nearly 200 employees would be going to England and Wales and each of them would get an opportunity to watch one of the matches. Claps, hoots, hugs and handshakes followed as employees eagerly congratulated each other.
“I’ll be watching a World-Cup match at the iconic Lords stadium which is the Mecca of cricket! The game is between New Zealand and Australia- both are great cricketing sides. One could not have asked for a more exciting opportunity. It’s really going to be the ultimate experience of cricket. Thums Up Coke!” said Anaam Sharma, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs.
After the announcement was over, it is time to execute this Herculean task. All the employees were divided into groups, named after popular brands of the company – Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Thums Up and others. Each group was assigned a captain and vice captain, who further picked the members of their teams through a draw of lots.
Multiple briefing sessions on handling visa formalities were conducted. When employees needed assistance in documentation and other procedures for completing visa formalities, it was readily available. Multiple briefings were carried out for various groups so that no one was left behind in the company-wide effort.
A specially-created travel desk ensured that the process was as smooth as possible with minimal disruption to the regular workflow for everyone. Biometric authentication, mandatory for visa application to UK, was also done in the office itself, further simplifying the process manifold.
“We also completed the biometrics for the family members of anyone who is travelling as part of the teams,” Atul Rajbhushan, General Manager, Strategic Risk & Partnerships, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia said.
A special team has also been assembled that will be ready to help employees in case of any unforeseen occurrences, such as accidents, lost documents etc.
“I was pleasantly surprised and definitely overjoyed to hear that all associates of Coca-Cola India are going to London to watch the ICC Cricket World Cup. From the visa application to accommodation and even currency exchange - the whole process was made very smooth and easy for each of us.
Never have I seen any company extend such a wonderful gesture to all their employees. This can only happen at Coca-Cola!” said Divya Singh, Associate Manager, Public Affairs & Communications, a seven+ years veteran of the company.
Not only is this a huge opportunity for employees to live their passion for cricket, the activity has also been strategically designed to offer maximum learning in brand strategy.
Both Coca-Cola and the ICC are over 100-year-old institutions. As part of the 5-year partnership, Coca-Cola will become the exclusive beverage partner for the ICC in the non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink beverages category.
So when you are watching the World Cup and a bunch of animated fans in the stadia wearing Coca-Cola branded tees appear on screen, don’t be surprised. The excitement which has built up over several months, now pours out like the fizz in a Coke bottle.