• ColaLife: Can Coke’s Distribution Muscle Save Lives?

    Aid, Communication Design


    Since a previous D21 post, I have been helping Simon Berry (CEO, ruralnet|uk) promote his latest idea, and what an idea it is! ColaLife.org is a campaign aiming to leverage Coca Cola’s distribution muscle to distribute life saving medicines to children in developing countries.

    The idea is simple, but until now has been difficult to evolve. The power of web 2.0 and social networking media however, has allowed Simon to digitally document his progress and to build a digital support network to develop the campaign.

    “We can distribute Coca Cola all around the World but we can’t seem to get medication to save a child from something as simple as diarrhea and I think that that is wrong.” (Annie Lennox, 2008)

    Since the launch of the campaign and due to the power of a Facebook group, Simon was invited by Salvatore Gabola, Coca-Cola’s Global Head of Stakeholder Relations, to a meeting to discuss the idea further at Coca-Cola’s European HQ in Brussels. The campaign’s Facebook group has reached over 4,441 members since its inception on 18 May 2008. It was nominated for the NewStatesman’s New Media Award in June and showcased at London’s 2gether08 festival on 3 July.

    Most recently, the campaign was featured on BBC Radio 4’s iPM programme in May and July, and on the BBC World Service on 13 July. Simon explains; “Before the Facebook group I was getting nowhere at all. The group has changed everything and is the reason we’ve made such rapid progress …Continuing support for the idea is vital if we are to turn this idea into a reality and actually save some lives.”

    Research and development of the campaign continues to evolve. The next objective is to get an international NGO to engage with the campaign. Meanwhile research is underway in East African into Coca-Cola’s distribution system and the feasibility of the idea is being investigated and reported on the campaign website.

    Thanks to everyone who has already shown their support, and a huge thank you to the team at Inhabitat.com for publishing the ColaLife story and launching it into the blogosphere!

    To find out more information and to follow the story, visit the newly created ColaLife.org (thanks to Dave Briggs!). To support the campaign, please please join the ColaLife Facebook Group! To get even more involved and if you have anything you can offer the campaign please sign up to the campaign’s Google Group “ColaLife”.

    Top Image: flickr/grzegorzkomar Text adapted from feature published on Inhabitat.com.

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