Coca‑Cola has been recognised for winning the coolest brand award in the Cold Drinks category at the Sunday Times GenNext awards held on 9 September 2021, during a live-streamed online celebration.


The 2021 Sunday Times GenNext survey, conducted by Yellowwood which polled more than 6,000 young people serves as an indicator of what South African youth find trendy and aspirational. The study remains the leading annual youth brand preference and consumer behaviour survey.

“The Coca‑Cola brand has always been about friendship, belonging and inclusivity and these themes were particularly relevant during the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Michelle Cloete, Frontline Marketing Director.

The pandemic has caused shifts in young people’s attitude towards products and brands and Coca‑Cola drew on its consumer insights and shifted its marketing efforts to remain accessible and authentic during this uncertain time. “Building a sense of community and togetherness helped us build trust with our young fanbase,” says Cloete.

The brands continued focus on positive values and unifying people from all walks of life speaks to the ideals of a multicultural generation of young people who are socially progressive, bold and kind. Incorporating strong digital and social media elements into campaigns also makes the brand accessible to young people who are globally connected through technology. “Our campaigns focus on inspiring meaningful conversations and encouraging young fans to be themselves,” she adds.

In addition to being consistent in our brand messaging, Coca‑Cola speaks to the positive impact the brand is having on communities and the world - refreshing while making a difference.

From supporting energetic entrepreneurs to saving water and investing in programmes that secure South Africa’s future water supply, Coca‑Cola is having a positive impact on people and the planet – issues that matter to young people. 

“We love that our young South African fans have voted us the coolest Cold Drink and can’t wait to get started on our next creative campaigns to connect with them.”