In what could be called both a brand fail and an absolute win, a local beverage company has stepped in when an international brand didn’t give a hoot!
Johannesburg, South Africa (11 April 2021) – Kingsley Beverages stepped up and sponsored an Owl that was rescued from a Coca-Cola bottling plant… and even went as far as paying their competitors bill, that they had left at the Owl Rescue Centre.
According to the Owl Rescue Centre Coca-Cola reneged on a promise they had made the Environmental Conservation Organization to the point that they were told that “Coca-Cola doesn’t support Wildlife Conservation Organizations and that Coca-Cola never had any intention of sponsoring any of the owls that they had rescued at their bottling plants rehabilitation costs”.
Luckily Kingsley Beverages stepped in to save the day when their competitors just didn’t give a hoot.
The Owl Rescue Centre took to Facebook to explain what had transpired.
“It is not about whether Coca-Cola sponsored us or not, but rather about honouring commitments, about truthfulness and transparency to their consumers. Wildlife conservation has no chance if it is only about pretending to do good.”
Hercules was rescued at a Coca-Cola bottling plant; the Owl Rescue Centre had helped the brand rescue the birds from the plant many times before. Owls seem to make the plant their home, but it is a dangerous environment for these magnificent birds, and so the team are called in every now and then to rescue, rehabilitate and release them back to the wild.
“We’ve done many rescues for Coca-Cola over the years, and on one of the last, the company offered to sponsor the rehabilitation cost of one patient. They named him Hercules. Coca-Cola posted this very kind offer on their social media, Facebook and Twitter accounts, of which they have over 104 million followers,” the team explained in a Facebook post.
Coca-Cola seemed quite proud of their new project!
It was a post that gained loads of engagement and even inspired the Coca-Cola team to set up a volunteer day for their production staff at the Owl Centre!
“Coke asked us to supply building materials to the value of R5,000 for the day’s project, to which they would reimburse us and if we could organize lunch for their 12 staff members. They offered to bring the refreshments. We organized it. All of it. Bought the materials, organized the lunch. Everything was sorted. And then, well, Coca-Cola didn’t pitch. They didn’t call; they didn’t write.”
The Owl Centre left it for a couple of months but after not hearing back from Coca-Cola, they decided to write a letter to remind the team about the small promise they had made to sponsor Hercules and the small issue of the outstanding R5,000. You see, R5,000 may not seem like much in the bigger scheme of things, but for this Non-Profit Organisation, it could mean life or death for the birds they look after.
“Their marketing manager said she would sort it out. But she didn’t.
Then we mailed their sustainability director; she said she would sort it out. She didn’t.
Then we mailed the Managing Director. He said he would sort it out. He didn’t.
Then we mailed the CEO of Coca-Cola South Africa. He asked his MD to sort it out. He didn’t.”
The Rescue Centre say that they have been trying to engage with the brand for five months and even mailed the Chairman of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, USA – James Quincy. They believed that if anyone was going to sort out their “little issue”, it would be the Chairman of the 40th largest company in the world and again, they were told that he would personally sort it out… and again nothing happened.
“We then got a call from one of Coca-Cola’s directors… that call was to tell us that Coca-Cola doesn’t support wildlife conservation organizations and that Coca-Cola never had any intention of sponsoring any of the owls we had rescued at their bottling plants rehabilitation costs.
The thing is, in all those subsequent emails we sent to them, all we asked was that they retract their social media statements that they would sponsor us. That’s all. We never asked or expected them to honour their monetary promises. Just retract their social media posts about supporting our owl conservation efforts. But they wouldn’t.
So, Coca-Cola does not support us in any way or form despite what they claimed on their media pages.”
This was when Kinglsey Beverages stepped in to help the Organisation and the Owls that desperately needed the funds.
24 hours after the rescue centre posted about the ordeal, Kingsley Beverages offered to sponsor Hercules and his entire rehabilitation bill. They even went as far as to pay the R5,000 that the centre believe was owed to them by Coca-Cola.
“Well, Kingsley Beverages heard about this and said, don’t worry Coke, we’ve got your back, and we will sponsor his rehabilitation bill. And went right ahead and paid R5000 into the Centre’s account.
Absolutely wonderful when one corporate helps out another especially considering they are actually opposition. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.”
**We have reached out to Coca-Cola in order to get their side of the story.