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Coca-Cola: A beverage company to a social distancing messenger

Yeshi Dema / Khmer Times Share:
CEO of the Cambodia Beverage Company Limited (Coca-Cola), David Wigglesworth. Supplied

In a clever display of adapting with the times, the Coca-Cola company redesigned its household name brand to signal solidarity – temporarily separating its normally intertwined letters to promote the message of social distancing. Its advertising strategy is only one of the changes the beverage company has made amid the pandemic.

To find out how the company is handling the coronavirus outbreak in the Kingdom, Khmer Times spoke with the CEO of the Cambodia Beverage Company Limited (Coca-Cola), David Wigglesworth.

In a statement, Mr Wigglesworth attested to the extreme lengths Coca-Cola Cambodia has taken to maintain the safety of its staff and customers.

“The safety and quality of our products are top priorities for us and we can say with confidence that our products are safe. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, there is no known transmission of the coronavirus from food or food packaging,” he said.

Mr Wigglesworth added: “We are quick and diligent in applying the best health practices as advised by the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation and our global health team by issuing weekly health alerts to our employees while conducting temperature checks, two times per day, for anyone entering our premises, placing many hand sanitisers in our premises, rolling out social distancing and wearing protective masks during working hours.”

Coca-Cola Cambodia has also diverted $200,000 from its advertising budget to invest directly in the campaign to halt the spread of the virus, especially by strengthening response efforts for the most affected communities in Cambodia.

“Our contribution is being used to support the tremendous efforts of healthcare workers and people on the frontline, as well as those in the vulnerable communities,” said the CEO.

To drive home such efforts, the company has partnered with the Ministry of Health, City Hall, Union Youth Federations of Cambodia and Samdech Techo Voluntary Youth and Doctors Association to conduct CSR activities.

Under this collaboration, the Coca-Cola Cambodia has contributed anti-epidemic supplies such as soaps, sanitisers, thermometers, protective masks, personal protective equipment, educational materials and high-quality nutritious beverages for impoverished communities, frontline medical workers, tuk-tuk drivers, provincial referral hospital, health centres and designated quarantine facilities across the nation.

Mr Wigglesworth added: “Just before Khmer New Year we partnered with Phnom Penh City Hall and the ride-hailing app Grab to distribute care packages to 5,000 tuk-tuk drivers, who are often from vulnerable communities and battling economic uncertainties all while continuing to provide their essential transport services.”

Amid its charitable acts, Coca-Cola company has not been spared from the economic impact of the coronavirus with the Coca-Cola Cambodia reporting a drop in sales and volume. In response, the company said they are constantly monitoring the market to adapt their efforts and responses as needed and also adopting contingency plans to maintain business continuity.

“The safety of Coca-Cola system employees is our highest priority. In Cambodia and around the world, our local teams have closely followed guidance from health authorities to protect the health and safety of employees across offices, production, distribution and retail facilities,” he said.

Coca-Cola Cambodia has also encouraged its staff to work from home and to use some of its advanced collaborative technology to stay in touch with their customers and their colleagues.

“Our technology, like the “Tenh Coke app” and telesales to our distributor partners, was created in better times but is demonstrating its worth in these difficult times,” he said.

Lastly, he added that the company has also been building up its stock of raw materials and finished goods to ensure it can respond to changing demands as the fight against COVID-19 continues across the Kingdom.

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