Coca-Cola's Expedition 206 Kicks off with New Year's Celebration in Madrid

New Interactive Features at Help Fans Connect With Global Travelers Every Step of the Way

MADRID--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- One down, 205 to go. Coca-Cola's team of three young "happiness ambassadors" kicked off their year-long global adventure known as Expedition 206 by ringing in the New Year with thousands of partygoers in Madrid, Spain. Madrid was the first stop on the team's 275,000-mile voyage to 206 countries and territories where Coca-Cola is sold to seek out what makes people happy.

The three members of Expedition 206 - Tony Martin, 30, a Washington, D.C. native who teaches kindergarten in Munich; Kelly Ferris, 23, a university student from Brussels; and Antonio Santiago, 24, a university student from Mexico City - will document the entire trip on and a variety of social networking sites, including Facebook (, YouTube (, Twitter (, Flickr ( and a TypePad blog at

"Celebrating New Year's Day was a perfect start to this journey as we are anticipating an amazing 2010 and look forward to sharing the experience with the world," said Tony.

As the team travels the globe seeking stories of happiness, fans can follow the real-time updates with a new Expedition 206 widget that takes all of the team's content and pulls it onto fans' own Web sites, blogs and social network profile pages. In addition, the built-in chat function on ensures people can quickly and easily become a part of the Expedition 206 adventure - interacting with the team members and other fans. Using all of these sites and tools, fans will serve as "virtual travel agents" for the team, helping decide where they will go, what they will do and whom they will visit in each destination.

As part of their preparation for Expedition 206, the team met with Margarita Alvarez, president of the Coca-Cola Happiness Institute in Madrid, to learn about the organization's research into what makes people happy. The Coca-Cola Happiness Institute was established by the Company in 2008 in Spain, in collaboration with several leading experts, to conduct and publish research about the nature of happiness and how different people perceive happiness.

"The research we've done to study happy people and the causes of happiness will provide a good foundation for the ambassadors as they travel the world seeking out and documenting stories of joy and optimism," Alvarez said. "These are three of the most energetic, uplifting people I've ever met, so it'll be fun to watch them interact with so many different people from all corners of the earth."

Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon Jimenez welcomed Tony, Antonio and Kelly during an event at Madrid's town hall, after which the team took a tour of the city. The team also ran in the San Silvestre Vallecana, a race that has taken place every Dec. 31 in Madrid since 1964. At the stroke of midnight, they each ate 12 grapes - las doce uvas de la suerte, or "the twelve grapes of luck" - at Puerta del Sol, a 100-year-old tradition that is supposed to bring good luck to all who eat one grape with each ring of the bell at midnight.

The team also completed the first in its series of 206 exchanges of specially decorated Coca-Cola bottles. They presented the first commemorative bottle, which they received from Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. In return, they received Spain's special bottle, which they will present to their hosts on the next stop on their world tour, Portugal. At the end of the expedition, all 206 of these one-of-a-kind bottles will be displayed in a special collection at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Tony, Kelly and Antonio also met with a delegation of representatives from the Shanghai World Expo 2010, who presented them with a miniature version of "Haibao," the mascot of the Shanghai Expo. Haibao will accompany the team as they travel the world, bringing a taste of the World Expo to each stop along the route. The team is scheduled to visit the Shanghai World Expo in May, along with other marquee events that Coca-Cola sponsors throughout the year, such as the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Canada and the FIFA World Cup 2010(TM) in South Africa.

"Kelly, Tony and I are looking forward to documenting this trip and learning from all of the great people we'll meet along the way," Antonio said. "We're just getting started, and we've already met so many wonderful people in Madrid. I can't imagine what the next 205 countries will bring."

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at

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    Source: The Coca-Cola Company