All Out, which campaigns for gay rights and equality, raised $8,000 online via a crowdsourcing effort and surrounded Coke’s Atlanta HQ yesterday with lorries carrying giant billboards (pictured).
Slogans included: ‘Coca-Cola – Speak Out Against Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws’ and ‘Coca-Cola – Don’t Stay Bottled Up!’
Now campaigners are calling for extra funding to keep the pressure up on Coke, despite Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attempts to stem a tide of negative publicity.
Putin wades into debate
“We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation,” Putin told International Olympic Committee head, Thomas Bach, yesterday.
Putin signed a law in July banning the ‘promotion’ of non-traditional sexual relations to minors – among other prohibitions – which opponents slam as ‘draconian’, and say is vague enough to permit human rights abuses.
Through a partnership with Sumofus.org, All Out has already gained 355,000+ signatures to a petition urging Coke to break its radio silence – since late August 28 – on Sochi.
“It’s not too late to join in – anything raised over our goal [of $8,000] will grow our campaign to end the anti-gay crackdown in Russia,” All Out said on its website.
‘Coke is rattled’ – All Out
Last Thursday, ahead of this week’s demonstration in Atlanta, All Out insisted that “Coke is rattled – they want more time to decide if they should call for an end to Russia’s anti-gay laws.”
Martin Caldwell from Sumofus.org told BeverageDaily.com last week that the body focused on Coke “because they have a clear timetable in which they will make a decision over whether to make a public statement condemning the Russian law”.
“If Coke made that choice it would have a huge impact on other companies and on the IOC and Russian government,” he said.
Caldwell addressed this question after we pointed out that Baltika Breweries (owned by Carlsberg Group) is also sponsoring the Sochi Olympics.
“It doesn't mean we won't target Carlsberg but that our focus for this week is on Coke,” Caldwell added. Carlsberg told us last week that Baltika was pleased to be sponsoring Sochi.