To celebrate twenty years of the ‘Holidays are Coming’ TV ad – which is returning to UK screens tonight* – for the first time ever, a member of the public had the unique opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Coca-Cola Christmas truck, marking the launch of its nationwide tour.

As the truck was unveiled ahead of embarking on its nationwide tour, Matt Smith, 28, a professional truck driver from Andover, Hampshire, became the first member of public to get behind the wheel and drive the iconic truck.

The drive was a long time in the making for the self-confessed truck enthusiast who said he has dreamt of driving the truck since the very first time he saw the ‘Holidays are Coming’ ad aged seven.

Bobby Brittain, Marketing Director for Coca-Cola Great Britain, said: “We’re thrilled to celebrate 20 years of ‘Holidays are Coming’ on our screens by giving Matt the opportunity to be the first member of the public to drive the truck. Seeing the delight on Matt’s face when he was behind the wheel reminded me that it’s these moments of happiness that make Christmas special.”

Twenty-eight year old Matt Smith said: “It was overwhelming to see the truck but then to actually drive it, wow! They say that it only really feels like Christmas when you see the Coca-Cola Christmas truck on TV – to have actually driven it is something else. It really was a dream come true to get behind the wheel of one of the most iconic trucks in the world and I couldn’t stop smiling, but it has also given me the opportunity to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis too.”

The very special drive came about after Matt shared his wish to drive the truck across his social media channels back in August. Matt not only wanted to fulfil an ambition he’d held since a child but to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis, a condition that he’s been managing since he was born. The request caught the imagination of the general public and Matt got widespread support and then got in touch with Coca-Cola to see if it could become reality.

This year’s Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour is kicking off tonight making its first stop in Inverness. Stopping at 46 locations up and down the country, it will give fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with the famous vehicle. On each stop, people have the chance to take pictures with the truck as it lights up and experience a snowy winter wonderland setting while enjoying a choice of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero or Coke Life.

In another first, this year Coca-Cola has launched a competition for a member of the public to win a personal visit from the Coca-Cola Christmas truck**. Through a promotion running on selected packs of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Life, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, one lucky person will be able to win a stop at their town.

The Coca-Cola Christmas truck first appeared on screens in November 1995 and was originally known as the ‘Christmas Caravan’. It has since become a regular feature of festive TV schedules in more than 100 countries and is now universally recognised as a personal countdown to Christmas.

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For more information:

For more information on the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour and Christmas Truck Stop competition visit www.happiness.coca-cola.com.

#HolidaysAreComing

Or contact:

Harriet Sharp hsharp@lexisagency.com on 020 7908 6428

Katie O’Driscoll kodriscoll@lexisagency.com on 0207 908 6455               

Notes to editors:

*The ‘Holidays are Coming’ TV advert will air for the first time this year tonight on Gogglebox at 9.50pm

In 2015, the truck will be visiting 46 locations across the UK including:

Inverness – 20th Nov

Fraserburgh – 21st Nov

Perth – 22nd Nov

Edinburgh – 23rd Nov

Newquay – 24th Nov

Glasgow – 24th Nov

Tavistock – 25th Nov

Gateshead – 26th Nov

Paignton – 26th Nov

Barnstaple – 27th Nov

Middlesbrough – 27th Nov

Penrith – 28th Nov

Yeovil – 28th Nov

Morecambe – 29th Nov

Weymouth – 29th Nov

Newtown – 1st Dec

Colwyn Bay – 2nd Dec

Llanelli – 2nd Dec

Cardiff – 3rd Dec

Chester – 3rd Dec

Liverpool– 4th Dec

Swindon – 4th Dec

Manchester – 5th Dec

The O2 Greenwich, London – 5th Dec

The O2 Greenwich, London – 6th Dec

Wigan – 6th Dec

Huddersfield – 9th Dec

Great Yarmouth – 9th Dec

Bury St Edmunds – 10th Dec

Leeds – 10th Dec

Ripon – 11th Dec

Watford – 11th Dec

Bridlington – 12th Dec

Reading – 12th Dec

Gloucester – 13th Dec

Sheffield – 13th Dec

Bournemouth – 16th Dec

Nottingham – 16th Dec

Leicester – 17th Dec

Winchester – 17th Dec

Peterborough – 18th Dec

Eastbourne – 18th Dec

Margate – 19th Dec

Romford – 20th Dec

Paddington Central, London – 22nd Dec

Leicester Square, London – 23rd Dec

 

**‘Win a visit from the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck’ details:

  • From the 19/10/15 to 04/12/15, Coca‑Cola is giving one customer the chance to win a visit from the Coca‑Cola Christmas Truck when they purchase promotional packs of Coca‑Cola, Coca‑Cola Zero, Diet Coke and Coca‑Cola Life.
  • The prize is a visit to the winner’s house from the Coca‑Cola Christmas Truck with a delivery of prizes worth £5k at time of print. Bonus prize is a prize pack valued at £5k at time of print.
  • Unique 10 digit codes can be found on the label or inside promotional packs of the below products:

            · 1.75ltr bottle of Coca‑Cola, Coca‑Cola Zero, Diet Coke and Coca‑Cola Life.
            · 500ml bottles of Coca‑Cola, Coca‑Cola Zero, Diet Coke and Coca‑Cola Life.
            · 4x 1.5ltr bottle multipacks of Coca‑Cola, Coca‑Cola Zero and Diet Coke.
            · 6x 330ml multi-packs of Coca‑Cola, Coca‑Cola Zero and Diet Coke.
            · 8x 330ml multi-packs of Coca‑Cola, Coca‑Cola Zero, Diet Coke and Coca‑Cola Life.

  • The winner will be contacted after the random prize draw has taken place on the 05/12/15. The winner will be contacted by phone on the number they provided upon entry. The winner is subject to verification.
  • For full competition details and Ts&Cs visit: https://promotions.coca-cola.com/uk/en/holidaysarecoming

About Coca-Cola Great Britain:

Coca‑Cola Great Britain is responsible for marketing 19 brands and 96 drinks to consumers across Great Britain. Led by Coca‑Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognisable brands, our company portfolio includes Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper, Oasis, glaceau vitaminwater, glaceau smartwater, Schweppes, 5 Alive, Lilt, Kia Ora and Powerade. For more information about Coca‑Cola in Great Britain, please visit our website at www.coca-cola.co.uk.