Saturday 19 January 2019

Are you a designated driver? Find out how you can claim free soft drinks on a night out

If you’re planning to go out over the festive season and stay sober so you can drive your friends and family to the pub, Coca-Cola have some very good news for you.

Coca-Cola have launched their annual Designated Driver ‘Gift of a Lift’ campaign across both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and will be offering free soft drinks to designated drivers across the entire country.

The award-winning campaign is now in its 14th year in the Republic and its 12th in the six counties, with the initiative proving to be a massive success in reducing drink driving as people look to enjoy a safe and fun Christmas.

Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the campaign about?

It’s all about road safety.

With 38pc of all deaths on Irish roads attributed to alcohol, the Road Safety Authority are encouraging people to leave their car keys at home if they’re planning to go out and enjoy a few drinks.

Campaigns such as the Coca-Cola Designated Driver ‘Gift of a Lift’ initiative have helped to incentivise those who plan on driving to stay clear of alcohol, and for those same people to pass the message on to friends and family who may choose to return the favour over the festive period.

Why is this so important?

It saves lives.

In the entirety of 2017, 157 people lost their lives on Irish roads. While this was a significant decrease on figures from 2016, which showed 186 fatalities, it’s clear that anything that can be done to convince people to take the utmost care on the road must be done.

Alcohol was a factor in almost 40pc of those deaths, and with packed pubs and Christmas parties taking place on a daily basis, December is by far the most important month to drive home the need to stay sober behind the wheel.

Thousands of customers chose to avail of the free drinks as part of 2017’s Designated Driver campaign and the hope is that even more will do so this year.

How can I claim my free soft drinks?

It really could not be simpler.

To avail of the two free drinks from the Coca-Cola range at participating venues, all customers need to do is download a voucher from the Designated Driver website and present it to bar staff.

If you’re the Designated Driver, you can choose from drinks across the entire Coca-Cola range, including Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Schweppes, 1783, Deep RiverRock, or Appletiser.

There are hundreds of participating pubs and restaurants nationwide, and you can find out if any of your favourite establishments are involved here.

Who is involved in the campaign?

Given its growing success over more than a decade, many of Ireland’s most influential figures are keen to get behind the ‘Gift of a Lift’ initiative.

Bloggers Niamh O’Sullivan, Conor Ryan and Cool FM presenter Rebecca McKinney are all planning to step out and stay sober by offering to be the Designated Driver for their friends and family over Christmas 2018.

Niamh writes about food, fitness, fashion and travel on one of Ireland’s most popular blogs at Cinnamon Soul, having returned to live in Ireland after spending two years living and working in New York.

Conor plans to use the campaign to influence those closest to him to offer their own ‘Gift of a Lift’ over Christmas and New Year’s, while Rebecca has already been busy across her social media channels spreading the word about a kind deed that Coca-Cola are only too happy to reward.

‘Gift of a Lift’ has the full support of An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and Drinkaware. It is also backed by the Licensed Vintners Association, the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the Restaurants Association of Ireland, and the Irish Hotels Federation.

In Northern Ireland, the campaign is endorsed by the PSNI, Hospitality Ulster and the NI Hotel Federation.

Why is this so important to Coca-Cola?

Mattieu Seguin, General Manager of Coca-Cola HBC across the island of Ireland, explains: “Our business takes immense pride in supporting road safety throughout the Christmas season. We are delighted to continue our support for designated drivers by providing free soft drinks from our range those who go the extra mile to ensure their loved ones get home safely.”

“This year, we will also shine a light on the importance and generosity of designated drivers at Christmas time. This will be achieved through our social influencer strategy to make the campaign message more relevant and engaging for party-goers.”

“We also recognise that Christmas is important period for our licensing trade partners and we want to partner with them to support their local communities throughout the festive season.”

Why not give take on the role of designated driver this Christmas and spread the important message of keeping our roads safe and alcohol free? Vouchers promising the ‘Gift of a Lift’ can be downloaded from the website and shared with friends and loved ones.

For more information and a list of participating outlets, visit the Designated Driver website.

Sponsored by: CocaCola

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