Huntington Beach and Coca Cola, the Real Thing

Huntington Beach, CA -


This Town Brought to You by Coke
The City Council of Huntington Beach, California, has made it official: By law, Coke is now the real thing. In February 1999, the Coca-Cola Company and the cash-strapped city completed a deal which gives Coke exclusive rights to place its logo and vending machines on all city property–parks, beaches, even police and fire stations–for the next ten years. In exchange, Coke will pay the city $300,000 cash per year in addition to spending another $300,000 annually to renovate city parks.

The deal that made Coke the "official city beverage" restricts sales of arch-rival Pepsi to privately-owned businesses such as restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Pepsi has responded to Coke's coup by scrambling for a town of its own; it's currently preparing an exclusivity contract with California's capital, Sacramento.

Huntington Beach hopes to sign more corporate sponsors to exclusivity deals. Don Schulte, a local sports marketing executive who organized the Coke sponsorship, is already dreaming of future deals. "If Calvin Klein comes out with a bathing suit line, maybe we'll talk," says Schulte. "We can put lifeguards in Klein bathing suits and sweatsuits; we can put beach parking attendants in Nike uniforms." And perhaps the Mayor in a Tommy Hilfiger clown suit?