Coca-Cola cancels Christmas 2020 truck tour for first time due to coronavirus

A familiar, Christmassy sight, the humble red vehicle has become something of an icon since it first appeared in the brand's television advert in 1995, indicating that the "Holidays Are Coming". Usually, Coca Cola tours its famous truck around the UK, hosting events in a number of towns to give out free cans of the fizzy drink and encourage people to celebrate the build-up to Christmas day. But, this year, the tour has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

In a tweet, the company said: "Due to current restrictions around the country, our Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour won't go ahead this year. "We know it's disappointing, but we'll continue to share special Christmas moments throughout the festive season. "We look forward to seeing you next year!"

It is the first time the tour has been cancelled since it first began ten years ago. Hundreds of people responded to Coca-Cola's post, saying how disappointed they were to miss out this year. "Noooo it's the official start to Christmas for us, never mind, look forward to the advert though," one person wrote on Twitter.

Another added: "It's not christmas without the Coca Cola truck! I guess we will make do with the adverts then." A third person simply commented: "Christmas is cancelled."

However, in response to one user, Coca-Cola promised that the "fun will never die", before adding there was still "a lot to look forward to". "We've got loads of festive treats to come, including our Christmas ad!" the brand said. "Hold on to your Santa hats for now..." The tour traditionally begins every November.

However, England is currently under its second national Covid-19 lockdown, which is expected to last at least four weeks until 2 December. In recent years, the tour has faced some criticism from health campaigners who called for it to be banned due to fears it could contribute to the "obesity epidemic" and impact children's oral health.

In 2019, the British Society for Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) said the tour was "harmful". Claire Stevens, NHS consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, said on behalf of the BSPD: "The motive for the tour can only be to encourage consumption of Coca-Cola brands.

"We share and support the advice of Public Health England (PHE) that fizzy drinks should have no place in a child's diet." In response, a Coca-Cola spokesperson said at the time: "The Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour is a one-off moment of fun in the run up to Christmas. As part of the experience we offer people the chance to enjoy a small can of Coca-Cola.

"We lead all our sampling with Coca-Cola zero sugar and expect more than 90 per cent of the samples we give away during the tour to be sugar-free.

In line with our responsible marketing policy, we have a policy of not providing drinks to children under the age of 12, unless their parent or guardian is present and requests one."

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