Thursday, August 7, 2008

Facebook To The Rescue Of Thousands of Africans

There are countless Facebook groups calling for positive change in the world. From fights against poverty and HIV/Aids, "click here to feed a hungry child" schemes to anti-animal cruelty leagues, i often wondered whether I was wasting time by paying too much attention to these groups. After all, are there any corporate brands who have the financial muscle to make these positive changes even listening?

Evidently, some are.

Coca-Cola executives recently responded to a Facebook-based call for humanitarian action, and showed a new opportunity for dialogue between consumers and corporations.

Incensed by the irony that remote African communities had limitless access to bottles of Coca-Cola, but no infrastructure to get medicines to sick children, innovator Simon Berry decided to speak up and ask Coca-Cola to dedicate a fraction of its distribution network to carry medicines for simple, widespread and life-threatening ailments like diarrhea. At first, Berry's ideas fell on deaf ears; after all he was the only recruit in a one-man army.

Now, a modest Facebook publicity campaign has catapulted Berry's message into the Coca-Cola boardroom. Salvatore Gabola, global head of stakeholder relations for the beverage giant, took notice of the social networking momentum and has invited Berry to Coca-Cola's European headquarters to discuss his idea.

By pleasing these typically marketing-wary Facebook users, Coca-Cola stands to gain enormously as a brand, as well as altering perceptions of the brand in the eyes of a tough market segment.

Via: World Changing