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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Coca Cola Bringing Fresh Water and Wells to Africa, but will the Gods Go Crazy?

Coca-Cola is working on improving its public image. A company that used to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony was recently beat up in India markets, where both Coke and Pepsi was accused of providing tainted water in its soft drink and other beverages(note. There were also allegations that local politics played a role in these accusations which saw a local soft drink company win the day).

However, Similar claims had been made in the past about its water products in the United Kingdom.

Now, Coke is reaching out to emerging markets where the media has previously only shown Coca-Cola products in such quirky movies as 'The Gods must be crazy' during which, a Coke bottle falls from a plane hitting a local villager on the head. The villager is then charged with taking the evil bottle to the end of the Earth and throwing it off the edge.

Coke is going to remote areas in Kenya and other African countries and installing water wells and water purification systems without CO2 and beverage dispensers. They are also setting up educational programs to teach local children about water purification and clean water. The children take these lessons home and share them with parents and extended family.

There are real benefits to improving the water supply around the world. Coke seems to be working to get in at the ground-level in these new markets. At the same time they are paying down some of their bad karma from India and possibly building some new equity in these untapped regions.

The question becomes can they regain their good image? Or will the villagers have to make another trek to the end of the Earth?