ColaLife – delivering aid using Coca-Cola’s distribution networks

Realising that, for better or for worse, there are few places on the planet where you can’t get a Coca-Cola, charity ColaLife developed the ingenious idea of piggy-backing on the soft drink giant’s distribution networks to deliver aid to hard-to-reach areas of developing countries.

The AirPod in a Coca-Cola crate
The AidPod in a Coca-Cola crate

The concept is currently trialling in Zambia, using a wedge-shaped container – the AidPod – that can carry medicines, and can slot into the unused space between Coca-Cola bottles in crates.

The AidPod design was developed by Pi Global, which offered its services to ColaLife at an awards ceremony.

The consultancy had to develop packs that were large enough to hold a dose of essential medicines, but could also squeeze into the spare space in containers. The packs also had to keep to strict guidelines laid down by Zambian medical authorities.

The AirPod and its contents
The AidPod and its contents

The containers – made from 80 per cent recycled PET – feature branding and instructions on a leaflet slotted into a lid, which means the plastic remains clear and is suitable for solar water disinfection.

The pack can also be used as a measuring jug, allowing people to mix a single dose of anti-diarrhoea medicine.

Simon with an AirPod
Simon with an AidPod

Chris Griffin, chief operating officer at Pi Global, says, ‘It wasn’t about making a lovely piece of packaging to attract consumers, but instead a functional and sturdy container to deliver this medication simply.’

An initial 20 000 AidPods were produced for the trial at the end of last year, and now 20 000 more have been produced. Pi Global says the concept is so popular that ColaLife is having to send over packs separately – above and beyond the ones delivered in Coke crates.

The AirPod in a Coca-Cola crate
The AidPod in a Coca-Cola crate

The AidPod is currently on show at the Design Museum as part of its Designs of the Year exhibition.

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  • Dan Banks November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

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