Link of the Day 072908: A bottle of Coke tracks change in Africa [Economist]

From the Economist:

AFRICANS buy 36 billion bottles of Coke a year. Because the price is set so low—around 20-30 American cents, less than the price of the average newspaper—and because sales are so minutely analysed by Coca-Cola, the Coke bottle may be one of the continent’s best trackers of stability and prosperity.

“We see political instability first because we go down as far as we can into the market,” says Alexander Cummings, head of Coca-Cola’s Africa division. The ups and downs during Kenya’s post-election violence this year could be traced in sales of Coke in Nairobi’s slums and in western Kenya’s villages. Events in the Middle East, such as the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel, can dent sales in Muslim parts of Africa, though anti-American feeling usually wears off quite quickly.

Update:
Just saw this bit of info from Inhabitat [COLA LIFE CAMPAIGN: Coke’s distribution chain to save lives]

In 1988, Simon Berry, Chief Executive of ruralnet|uk was working as a development worker in remote north east of Zambia, conscious that while he could buy a bottle of Coke anywhere, 1 in every 5 children under the age of five die in these areas through simple causes such as dehydration through diarrhea. Twenty years later, through the power of social media technology, Berry has launched a simple campaign asking Coca Cola to use a small part of its incredible distribution capacity to get medicines, such as rehydration salts, to dying children.

The rest of the post details headway that the campaign has made of late.


Duration: 5min 31sec

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