I thought an update on the progress of the Coca Cola campaign so far would be helpful.
The first 7,305 days – no progress!
May 1988 – May 2008
- May 1988 Had the idea while working on the British Aid Programme in NE Zambia that Coca-Cola’s distribution muscle could be used to distribute oral rehydration salts in developing countries
- I tried to promote the idea but made no progress at all!
The last 120 days – real progress!
May 2008 onwards
- 6/5/08 The presence of Coca-Cola’s Chief Executive at the Business Call To Action event re-kindled the idea. I contributed to the online blog saying: What about Coca Cola using their
distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts? Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as ‘the life saving’ compartment?’ (original live blog available here)
- 6/5/08 I decided to blog the idea and then follow-up by trying to get Coca-Cola’s attention. The blog post is here.
- After the blog post I tried to get the idea debated on the BBC Radio 4 iPM programme. I was successful on the 3rd attempt and after getting friends to support the idea on the iPM blog (see below).
- 6-14/5/08 I was in communication with Coca-Cola but could not get past the first line in Coca-Cola’s CSR department
- 16/5/08 Heard Annie Lennox on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. She said 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 diarrhoea and I think that that is wrong. At this point I decided my blog post wasn’t going to be enough! I decided to set up a Facebook group to get people behind the idea.
- 18/5/08 Facebook Group formed.
- 19/5/08 #colalife tag set-up in hastags
- 21/5/08 Interviewed by Eddie Mair for the iPM Programme.
- 21-24/5/08 The iPM Team worked flat-out to create an amazing feature for the programme on 24/5/08 and this paid off handsomely
- 23/5/08 colalife tag establsished in del.icio.us
- 23/5/08 The iPM Team received a Written statement received from Coca Cola – ‘willing to talk’
- 24/5/08 The campaign was featured on iPM (BBC Radio 4)
- 24/5/08 As part of the iPM feature, Eve Graham (ex lead singer – The New Seekers) sang supporting lyrics to ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’.
- 27/5/08 Coca-Cola Reydration Project proposed on RSA Networks (RSA Members only)
- 1/6/08 The colalife ampaign was nominated for the New Media Awards
- 5/6/08 Telephone conference with Coca Cola’s Global Head of Stakeholder Relations and UK conterpart
- 13/6/08 Facebook Group grew from 0 to 2,115 in 26 days. Membership includes a ‘frontline’ Rehydration Project in India
- 16/6/08 Face to face meeting with Coca Cola’s Salvatore Gabola in Brussels.
- 3/7/08 Ran workshop at the 2gether08 Festival
- 3/7/08 Follow-up interview with the iPM Programme (video)
- 6/7/08 Coca-Cola’s Adrian Ristow sent his first diary note from Ethiopia
- 6/7/08 ColaLife Google Group established
- 6-20/7/08 Facebook bug did not allow Kate Andrews to be added as group administrator – Facebook Support contacted
- 13/7/08 Simon Berry interviewed on the BBC World Service
- 21/7/08 Kate Andrews became Admin of the Facebook Group (group size: 3,400)
- 29/7/08 Kate’s article published on inhabitat.com
- Inhabitat article starts an avalanche of other artcles including on treehugger, trendhunter and many more.
- 3/8/08 ColaLife Flickr Group established
- 3/8/08 colalife.org domain name purchased
- 3/8/08 Aims & objectives finalised through Google Group
- 4/8/08 Colalife website and dedicated blog built by Facebook Group member Dave Briggs.
- 6/8/08 Facebook Group membership hits 4,000
- 14/8/08 First face-to-face meet-up of the ColaLife Group
- 20/8/08 Meeting with James Alexander, CEO, We Are What We Do
- 21/8/08 Interviewed for Common Ground Magazine (US) – feature to be published on 1/10/08
- 21/8/08 Responded to questions from El Mercurio, Chile
- 27/8/08 Facebook Group membership hits 5,000, Google group has 55 members, Flickr Group has 256 members
- Planning for the next Business Call To Action meeting at the UN in New York on 25 September
- Tracking the Coca-Cola research into their distribution network in east Africa
- Encouraging the prospect of trials of the concept in east Africa before the end of 2008
- Seeking engagement from a multi-national NGO
- Encouraing ideas and contributions from members of the various groups (eg design of inserts for crates; educational and awareness raising materials; local logistics; grass-roots engagement etc etc)
- On-going PR campaign to ensure support groups continue to grow
5,500 children die every day in Africa before the age of 5. This initiative could save thousands and thousands of children’s lives through positive engagement between the private and NGO sector.