Greece’s Communications Control Council has asked Coca Cola Hellas to cease its promotional campaign featuring depictions of the Parthenon, the Hellenic Parliament building and the White Tower of Thessaloniki within 30 days.
The Communications Control Council has taken the decision following complaints by three Greek soft drinκ companies, namely Loux, Vikos and Epsa. Coca Cola Hellas is to remove the depictions of the iconic Greek buildings from bottles, refrigerated cases, billboards and other advertising media.
The Greek soft drink manufacturers appealed to the communications authority on the grounds that Coca Cola Hellas has been using the symbols without prior permission from the Ministry of Culture and Sports for the representation of public-owned monuments after a new bill that went into effect on July 4, 2019.
The new bill says that companies which want to use Greek cultural symbols of public monuments for advertising or any kind of promotional purposes, must first seek the approval of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The three soft drink companies accuse Coca Cola Hellas of using unfair advertising practices even after the new bill went into effect, and appealed to the Hellenic Competition Commission.
According to a report from --.gr, Ioannis Marlafekas, the president and CEO of Loux Marlafekas SA, is determined to push the international giant as far as he can, including taking the case to the Greek courts.
He claims that Coca Cola Hellas has not adhered to the decisions of the Greek trade authority.
“I’ll take this thing to the end,” Marlafekas said according to --.gr. “We are not going to let this thing go on. To have a company exploit the history of a country without permission, and the Ministry of Culture answer to our questions like Pontius Pilate,” he told reporters.
“We will use any available mens the law gives us to stop this clearly offensive action. And that is what Loux is determined to do even if the other two companies do not follow,” Marlafekas added.
At the same time, the --.gr report says that Coca Cola Hellas claims that the three competing manufacturers are trying to create an impression that the multinational is not complying with the law.
As Coca Cola Hellas points out, its competitors are attempting to disparage the company’s advertising campaign and tarnish its image, without knowing the true purpose of the campaign.
According to the report, Coca Cola Hellas claims that the true purpose of this particular campaign is to support Greek tourism. The company respects the law and institutions and operates within regulations and business ethics — so it would never commit illegal or unauthorized actions which would endanger its reputation and credibility.
Coca Cola Hellas emphasizes that “tourism and the promotion of Greece internationally is a priority and strategic pillar of the company’s social contribution program.”