Do a search on ColaLife in Amazon and this book pops up. Why? Because its author, Chris Arnold, is a ColaLife supporter and writes about ColaLife. He says:
FROM HUMANITARISM TO PLANETARISM
The power of the web for good and bad is just amazing. What starts as a small group can soon become massive and so influential big brands have to listen. One example is ColaLife, created by Simon Berry. It all started as an idea on Facebook, and exploded. Berry has been trying to get Coke to use their vast distribution network to help deliver life-saving medications and information in developing countries. This concept, ColaLife, could help save hundreds of thousands of people (www.colalife.org).
Amusingly, one of Coke’s great straplines, when translated into one of the Chinese languages, reads ‘ Bring your dead back to life’. Now, more seriously, brands like Coke, Pepsi (and many other mass distributed products) could soon be the new saviours, preventing millions of deaths from water-related illnesses. According to WaterAid, one billion people lack access to clean water and every day 5,000 children die as a result of drinking dirty water. In many regions of the world, people have to walk miles to get water. Water that’s often dirty, polluted or infected with disease, and it’s often shared with animals.
Quoting Simon Berry: ‘Our idea is that Coca-Cola could use their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts to the people that need them desperately. Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as a life as the “lifesaving compartment”? ‘ Gives new meaning to Coke’s famous straplines ‘Life tastes good’ and ‘Coke adds life’.
WaterAid is not a great fan of distributing rehydration salts for treating diarrhoea (it’s a short-term solution) preferring to educate people about hygeine and putting in proper sanitation and clean water supplies. But Simon’s campaign is gathering a mass of supporters by using the power of Web 2.0 and social networking to spread the word and create a digital community of activists. (Almost 4,000 joined the open group on Facebook).
This case illustrates how one person can very quickly gain enough momentum to be as powerful as a major charity in applying pressure to large corporations. This is a new concept of David and Goliath. Whereas the old model placed charities as the champions of a particular issue or cause, now any passionate, driven member of the public can soon gather a force behind them and push for change. There is some evidence that issue [web]sites are gaining more followers than traditional charity sites in the States. Could common causes replace charitable organisations as the main influencers in the future?
We are very grateful to Chris for drawing attention to our cause but inevitably things have moved on:
- Soon after the start of the campaign we dropped the idea of removing a bottle and instead have designed the AidPod which clips between the necks of crated bottles and so make use of unused space in the crate.
- And we now have around 12,000 (not 4,000) followers signed up online. As I type the numbers are:
- The original Facebook group: 8,774
- The new Facebook page: 2,574
- Twitter: 1,009
- Flickr: 411
[Neither ColaLife nor Simon Berry benefit from sales of this book].