Why young Baringo girl pictured smiling glowingly while holding Coca-Cola drink is unlikely to get Coke advert

By Kenneth Ruto On Mon, 25 May, 2020 12:13 | 2 mins read
Joy Jebiwott
Four-year-old girl, Joy Jebiwott, with her guardians at their home in Baringo County. PHOTO | KENNETH RUTO

She is only four years and five months old and definitely may not comprehend fully the immensity of social media power.

However, Joy Jebiwott’s innocent photos of her gleefully enjoying a Coca-Cola drink have taken social media in Kenya by storm.

Her father, Jacob Keror, who works for Nyamira County government, told K24 Digital that the photos were taken at her grandmother’s home in Eldama Ravine where, alongside other children, they were being taught Kalenjin traditional culture.

After the photos were shared on social media platforms, Kenyans started pushing for her to become a brand ambassador for the global beverage firm, a company that has dominated the business for 128 since its founding in 1892 in the United States.

Joy, who is in Pre-Primary One (PPI) at Dreams Hill Academy in Mogotio Sub-County, Baringo, is described by father as an outgoing, ambitious, 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,” her adoring father Jacob told K24 Digital.

The girl who wants to become a pilot when she grows may find herself with an opportunity to join the marketing world should the Coca-Cola oblige Kenyans’ push to make her a brand ambassador.

“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.

But her parents will have to wait for a response from Coca-Cola since they have strict rules on marketing to children or using images of children in adverts.

A call to the Coca-Cola customer care number on their Kenya website for a comment on the social media push to make Joy a brand ambassador went unanswered.

But Joy may be lucky since Coca-Cola only desists from featuring any children who are, or appear to be, under three in their adverts even though the children may not be pictured consuming the products.

The Coca-Cola Company’s Responsible Marketing Policy (TCCC) is so strict that it does not allow for media which directly targets children under 12, including shows, print media, websites, social media, movie and SMS/email marketing.

However, given that Coca-Cola defines media that directly targets children under 12 as media in which 35 percent or more of the audience is composed of children under 12, Joy may be in luck since the Coca-Coca beverages are largely consumed by adults and children over 12.

“We will not design our 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,” says Coca-Coca policy.

The firm says that its policy is consistent with the International Chamber of Commerce Marketing and Advertising Code and its Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communication.

Additional Reporting by Joel Muinde.

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