Olympics and the Coca-Cola Connection
Before we get to Olympics, just a quick note that I have added some more photos to my Flickr and Vodpod video on the sidebar. There should be the monkeys from last week but quite a few of my old sugar creations you haven’t seen before.
Onto the corporate sponsorship world. Without it, Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics would not exist. Just a reality of putting on an Olympic games in a harsh economic climate.
Continuing on with my Explore Vancouver series let’s move on to the Coca-Cola Happiness Pavilion set up in Yaletown at David Lam Park. It’s a temporary structure about 8000 square feet and filled with memorabilia and lots of interactive displays.
Here is the iCoke.ca website which has more video and info about the Pavilion.
Coke actually have Youtube videos out showcasing the inside of this place.
This was one of our last stops before heading to the Opening Ceremonies. It is one of the busiest attractions at this free LiveCity area in Yaletown filled with pavilions to explore. You need to get a ticket to come back at a certain time because it gets so busy. Mr. TC managed to get us in a bit earlier by pulling the “we’ll be late for Opening Ceremonies” card.
We’re lucky to have gone that day. The lineup once we were allowed in was only about 20 minutes. Last I heard today the wait was about 3 hours. Yikes! I guess that’s what happens when things are free and there are over 50,000 people in one area.
I honestly had forgotten there was even an Olympic connection with Coca-Cola. I’m sure it’s been there every few years in the TV ads but obviously I wasn’t paying attention. Here are a few of the infobites they offered to us while waiting in line.
While in line we got to check out their display of Coke bottles through the years. They had some originals that dated back almost a hundred years. I was just too short to get a good shot of those but I did catch the ones from previous Olympics. It’s too bad they didn’t label them for us. If I had the time I’m sure I could have inspected each one. The only ones I can make out are the very last row was from Beijing.
Take a look at this photo below.
The round disc under the C in Cola is actually a window. Every 10 minutes a guy wearing an old fashioned soda shop hat would pop out of there and scare the crap out of everyone in line. I kept waiting for him to show up for us so we could receive more free Coke bottles but he never showed.
There was also a display of Olympics torches from past games. I have never been this close to an Olympic torch before and now we had many chances to see them.
For a nice Olympic Torch timeline pic see here.
After 20 minutes in line we were finally led into a mini theatre.
Did you know that the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games mark the 7th year that Coca-Cola has sponsored an Olympic Torch relay? Out of the 12,000 torchbearers about 4000 of them were chosen by Coca-Cola. They looked for individuals who support environmental sustainability and active living in their communities.
This is the stuff you remember when you’re finally led into a dark room with a video to watch for five minutes. There’s nothing else to distract you so the propaganda seems to have a straight feed through to the brain. I am now a Coca-Cola Believer!
The doors open and you are suddenly let free into the Coke Pavilion. It is a feast for the senses with tons of lights, music, and a general frenzy of activity.
The first thing that greets you is this awesome ice bar. The Coca-Cola and Coke Zero is being handed out at a record pace.
The entrance was also lined with gigantic bottles of different designs. These are a few of my favourites.
In the center of the room is this giant 20 foot tall glowing Coke bottle.
There are a few activity stations and if you do two of them you get a free prize after. Wonder what it is? I’m Asian. It’s known that we are generally cheap and we are definitely all about the freebies.
First activity got me super excited – a chance to hold a real Olympic torch and take a picture. They give you a code to log on to their site and you can email it to yourself. Simple and easy. About time I held the torch since my kids have already held it twice and they’re still single digits!
(Sorry about not posting our pic but I didn’t have the chance to blur out our faces COPS style so I’ll have to leave it out for now. You know Mr. TC will care about that one.)
People also lined up a long time to take a picture with the Coca-Cola bear. He looks wrong to me, just too tall and disjointed. I’m all about the cute and fuzzy but I didn’t want to get near this guy.
At the end of the Pavilion you submit your empty bottle for recycling and you get a limited edition glowing Coke bottle in return. Granted it’s made of styrofoam and my kids would break it in 2 minutes but still it’s one of my prized possessions from the games.
See the Youtube video below that some guy made of his glowing bottles. It seems these things make people go a bit crazy.
Lastly onto shopping. There is a Coca-Cola Pin Trading Centre in the Olympic Superstore. It is next to the aptly named Open Happiness Cafe. There are over 130 exclusive Coca-Cola Vancouver 2010 lapel pins. Thank goodness this is one of those times I didn’t cave into the pin trading. Expensive habit!
I might have to digress to a Twilight related post next and then back to Olympics. Yeah for a week off to enjoy the sunshine and Olympics!
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