Coca-Cola negotiates deal with cash-strapped Venice

Posted by Isobel Drake on 24th February 2009

One of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations has entered into a €2.1 million (A$4.15m) Euro deal with The Coca-Cola Company, which will see the beverage giant install around sixty vending machines in the city, according to an Italian report.”In exchange for 2.1 million Euros over five years, the drinks giant is getting ready to invade the city,” the daily La Stampa newspaper claimed.

It was suggested that Coke vending machines would even be seen in the iconic St Mark’s Square where eating and drinking is prohibited, although this has since been refuted by the council’s chief of staff.

”Fifteen distributors will be placed on the principal vaporetti landing stages, the others will be inside council car parks and in the limited traffic zone of the mainland. Where’s the invasion?” the council’s chief of staff, Maurizio Calligaro, told the ANSA news agency.

The vending machines would not be plastered with the Coca-Cola logo and will not be located at sites that are the ‘jewels’ of Venice, such as St Mark’s Square, according to the city official.

Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari was surprised by the uproar believing it to be a severe overreaction.

”This is a financial strategy that today is simply indispensable for safeguarding our monuments and artistic heritage and is in line with culture ministry guidelines,” he said, according to ANSA. ”It follows a strategy we’ve adopted with other equally prestigious collaborators.”

”These idealists who protest against strategies such as (the Coca Cola deal), which by now have been adopted in all the cities of the world, should have the good taste to indicate an alternative, or, even better, provide for the needs of the city from their own pockets,” he concluded.