Thursday, June 16, 2005

IT'S THE FIZZ THAT GIVES YOU WHIZZ

Now, we don't want to keep repeating Bob's phrase about "filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the planet", but with the news that Live 8 are about to announce a "major sponsor" for the Hyde Park gig, we're almost feeling obliged to. Bob did say this wasn't meant to be a charity gig, more of an awareness raiser - but we didn't realise he was talking about brand awareness. (Of course, Bob has also said it was a charity gig, when he was condemning Ebay for allowing people to flog tickets online, but we'll let that pass for now.)

A Live 8 spokesman tells The Scotsman there was one major sponsor yet to be announced for the Hyde Park concert, and Live 8 dismisses media speculation that Coca-Cola is going to be a major sponsor, but say it is likely the drinks giant will have a smaller presence at Hyde Park.

Coca-Cola? With an official presence? When Midge Ure said that the Live 8 initiative wasn't going to have anything to do with the usual anti-G8 protesters, he wasn't bloody joking, was he? Coca-cola?

Of course, Coke claims that it has no direct control over its subsidiary plants, but... what about the accusations that the company works with paramilitaries in Colombia to crush union activity? What about Kerala, where the mulitnational has been blamed for causing water shortages? And elsewhere throughout India? While the water they do leave behind gets polluited by residues; while the company provides "goodwill" gestures by allowing local farmers to use its cadmium- and lead-contaminated sludge as fertilizer? How about in 2001 when Colarado Springs foolishly sold its school students to coke and tried to bounce the city into boosting sales by instructing principals to allow students virtually unlimited access to Coke machines and to move the machines to where they would be "accessible to the students all day." Wrote Bushey: "Research shows that vendor purchases are closely linked to availability," adding, "location, location, location is the key." The confidential letter, which was first published by the Colorado Springs Independent, also urged teachers to allow students to drink Coke in the classroom: "If soda is not allowed in classes, consider allowing juices, water, and teas." Bushey [the city official who distributed the letter] signed the letter "The Coke Dude." And so on and so on... you can see why Live 8 wouldn't want Coke involved as their main sponsor, can't you?

And that doesn't even start to touch why multinationals are being allowed to sign up Live 8 as part of their global advertising campaigns anyway - how does that sit with the presumably important ideal of making trade fair?

Bob alone knows who the main sponsor will be - we can only thank our lucky stars that arms manufacturers tend not to put their marketing budgets into consumer events, I guess.

Talking of which: Nice words, Bono - in a bid to "persuade" Thom Yorke to bring Radiohead along, Bono said "there's a missile on your way".


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