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Coca-Cola brings Real Magic to designated drivers this Christmas


Melissa Riddell, Designated Driver ambassador, DJ and radio presenter, with Inspector Rosemary Leech of the PSNI.

Melissa Riddell, Designated Driver ambassador, DJ and radio presenter, with Inspector Rosemary Leech of the PSNI.

Melissa Riddell, Designated Driver ambassador, DJ and radio presenter, with Inspector Rosemary Leech of the PSNI.

Coca-Cola HBC has announced the return of its annual Designated Driver campaign, rewarding those who stay sober on nights out to ensure their friends and family members get home safely.

Inspector Rosemary Leech of the PSNI yesterday launched the road-safety campaign, together with ambassador Melissa Riddell, the Department of Infrastructure and industry stakeholders.

In anticipation of this special festive season, Coca-Cola’s Christmas mission is to celebrate the simple joy of human connection and the 2021 road safety campaign aims to bring this Real Magic to Designated Drivers.

Drivers can avail two free soft drinks or water from the Coca-Cola HBC range throughout December, at participating venues in Northern Ireland.

The brand will also reward Designated Drivers by providing free parking spots at Q-Parks in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast every weekend during the month.

Drivers simply need to present themselves as the Coca-Cola Designated Driver to car park security by pressing the intercom button on pay machines to benefit from parking free-of-charge when on a night out.

“Drink/drug driving has caused over 2,000 deaths and serious injuries since 2000,” said Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon. “That’s over 2,000 devastated families.

“In 2020 alone, the six people killed and 40 seriously injured can be attributed to a driver or rider being impaired by alcohol or drugs. All of these families’ lives were destroyed forever the second that person who had a drink decided to drive their car.

“We have a duty to our own families and friends to make sure we are there to celebrate Christmas and New Year with them. We also have to ensure other people are with their loved ones at this time of year.

“The bottom line is that any alcohol will impair your ability to drive. The only safe level of alcohol to take, and drive, is none.

“To ensure you and your friends get home safely and keep the roads safe this Christmas: arrange a lift home before you leave; book a taxi or have a Designated Driver who will not be drinking alcohol.”

Gareth Devlin, channel director, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, said: “We’re very proud to announce the return of our award-winning Designated Driver initiative, which will play a special role in this year’s Christmas campaign.

“Coca-Cola will celebrate Real Magic this December, and what better way to remind ourselves of the true spirit of the festive season than by giving the simple gift of a lift.

“We want to ensure that Designated Drivers are rewarded throughout the month and will offer two free soft drinks at participating venues once again. We’re also proud to partner with Q-Park to further reward designated drivers with free parking in Belfast.”

To spread this Real Magic across the region, DJ and Radio Presenter Melissa Riddell will also take on the role of Designated Driver and her followers will, in turn, be in with a chance to win the ultimate night out in Belfast. More information will be shared on her Instagram channel in due course - @MelissaRiddell.

Riddell said: “Whenever I think of Christmas, I always think of Coca-Cola, so it’s brilliant to be working together again this year to encourage people to be safe on our roads and reward the Designated Drivers who get us home during the festivities.

“With complimentary soft drinks and free parking for Designated Drivers, Coca-Cola is creating the ultimate combo to add some real magic this Christmas.”

In Northern Ireland, the Designated Driver campaign is supported by the Department for Infrastructure, PSNI, Hospitality Ulster and the NI Hotels Federation.

Designated Drivers can avail of the two free soft drinks from the Coca Cola HBC range by simply making themselves known to bar staff at participating venues. Drinks from the range include Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Coca Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta, Sprite, Deep RiverRock and Fruice.

Participating venues will be featured on www.coke.ie/xmas. Follow #HolidaysAreComing on social to be a part of the conversation.