Coca-Cola Company has responded to the social media campaign by Kenyans to make a four-year-old Baringo girl, Joy Jebiwot, a brand ambassador.
In a statement, the global soft drinks firm said that the photos of the girl that went viral on social media represent "pure happiness."
“This is pure happiness. You’ve made us smile by capturing and sharing this beautiful image, especially when things are so sad in the world right now,” said the company in a statement shared with K24 Digital on Monday, May 25.
However, the company still maintains that it does not use children under the age of 12 in its advertisements and marketing worldwide.
“As a company we have made a decision not to use children under the age of 12 in our adverts and marketing worldwide, but we do love seeing your creativity and passion for our brand so continue sharing your amazing talents with us,” said Coca-Cola.
The firm’s responsible marketing policy clearly states out that they do not design their marketing communications in a way that directly appeals to children under 12.
“Specifically, we will not use, in any communications created after the date of adoption of this policy: Celebrities or characters whose primary appeal is to children under 12, with the exception of brand equity characters already in use…Licensed merchandise whose primary appeal is to children under 12. Images of our products being consumed by children under 12 without an adult present. We will not feature any children who are, or appear to be, under 3,” Coca-Coca policy published on their website states.
Joy, a Pre-Primary One (PP1) pupil at Dreams Hill Academy in Mogotio, Baringo County was photographed taking a Coke drink while at her grandmother’s home in Eldama Ravine.
The photos of the young girl took the internet by storm, with many Kenyans pushing from the onset to have her used in a Coca-Cola advert, a chance for the company to connect with local consumers at a very basic level, using a recognizable face in an advertisement.
While the company does not use children under the age of 12 in adverts and marketing communications worldwide, the girl’s father said he has granted his consent after much reflection.
“If it is possible for Joy to be made a Coca-Cola ambassador, it is okay. It is part of motivating other young ones that they can become who they want to be despite where they come from,” said Jacob Keror, an employee of the Nyamira County government.
Jacob described his younger daughter as an outgoing, friendly, and brave girl.
“She is not shy, she loves singing, she engages other people even when they are in school or at our Catholic Church and always wants to be part of the choir. Her teacher also told me that in a school of 800 pupils, she always volunteers to recite the national anthem during morning parades,” the father told K24 Digital.
The girl wants to become a pilot when she grows up.