Coca-Cola apologizes after erasing Greece from Olympic map
Coca-Cola, the world leader in the soft-drinks industry and the Olympics longest-standing sponsor was forced to issue a groveling apology after it deleted Greece, the birthplace of the Games, from a map displayed at the Olympic Park during London 2012, according to an exclusive report by Insidethegames.
The map was displayed at Pin Trading Centers on the Olympic Park and Hyde Park. It did not show several countries, including Turkey, which is particularly embarrassing for Coca-Cola considering the company’s CEO, Muhtar Kent, is of Turkish descent.
But it was the fact that it did not include Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics, which has proved the most controversial. Insidethegames received several hundred comments on the topic.
Many of the Greeks who commented called for a boycott of Coca-Cola. One comment read: “If I drink Coca-Cola again you can pierce my nose as we say in Greece... Oops! What Greece?????”
After being contacted by Insidethegames, Coca-Cola issued the following statement:
"Coca-Cola recognizes and appreciates the importance, influence and contribution of Greece to the Olympics. We regret any misrepresentation of Greece on the world maps that were displayed inside the Pin Trading Centers at Hyde Park and the Olympic Park. The original maps were designed as simplified geographical renderings of countries and continents of the world and were not drawn to scale. As a result, several countries, including Greece, were inaccurately represented. Coca-Cola has taken the matter very seriously and, once the situation was brought to our attention, as a matter of urgency, a new, more accurate design was put into production. When the Pin Trading Centre on the Olympic Park reopens we will ensure it features the new map. Although there is a now a lower level of pin trading at the Hyde Park Pin Trading Centre, we will ensure a new map is installed there tomorrow, August 18."
Coca-Cola’s omission is proving just as controversial as a statement made by Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, during the London Olympics opening ceremony. He said: “In a sense, the Olympic Games are coming home tonight”.
Greeks around the world protested, arguing that his statement is misleading because it erroneously suggests that the birthplace of the Olympic Games is in London.