Mandela’s message in a bottle

22 November 2007

Coca-cola, in partnership with the 46664 initiative, will randomly place one million empty coke bottles with encouraging messages from Nelson Mandela in them around South Africa in the run-up up to World Aids Day on 1 December, as part of their Message in a Bottle campaign.

The campaign is already under way in the form of the “Hello” television commercials, showing a young boy who uses an empty Coca-cola bottle to transport his message around the world.

The commercial ends with the voice of Nelson Mandela underlining just how massive the problem is and asking for everybody’s help. It encourages people to visit the 46664 website to find out more and to make a donation.

“[HIV/Aids] is not a disease any more, it’s a human rights issue,” Mandela says in the advertisement.

“Our ‘Message in a Bottle’ campaign is the culmination of four years of work driven by patience, passion and commitment,” Coca-Cola South Africa marketing manager Julian Bryant says in a statement on the 46664 website.

“As an iconic brand which has the power to influence lives and change perceptions, it is important for Coca-Cola to have a voice and an opinion. Our ‘Hello’ campaign does just that.”

Bryant says that while the pandemic brings about pain, loss and unbearable grief, the team behind the campaign purposely tried to set a tone that was positive, with the message that everyone can make a difference.

It’s in your hands
Mandela’s message inside the bottle reads:


All over the world a silent tragedy is unfolding. Today, especially in Africa, Aids is claiming as many lives as all the wars, famines and floods that have ravaged the continent. It is devastating families and communities, overwhelming and depleting healthcare services, and robbing schools of both students and teachers.

This is not a disease any more, it’s a human rights issue. It’s time to break the silence.

We need your help. 46664 and Coca-Cola are partnering to make a difference to the millions of people affected by this pandemic.

To find out more about 46664 and how you can become involved, please go to or, or donate right now by sms-ing “hello” to 46664. An amount of R20.00 will be deducted from your account and channeled to our HIV AIDS campaign owned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Your donations will make a huge difference, so please give generously.

It’s in our hands.

(signed) Nelson Mandela.

A million empty bottles
Coca-Cola will also be donating R1-million to the 46664 initiative and giving their support to the 46664 concert on World Aids Day, 1 December, by selling limited-edition “Style my Coke” bottles, the proceeds of which will all go to the cause.

46664 international director Tim Massey said the Hello campaign illustrated the power of partnerships between corporates and charities to realise a common goal, in this case to increase awareness about HIV/Aids.

“Coca Cola’s generous donation will be used to fund the 46664 outreach activities, while the TV commercial and the outdoor activation will ensure that the 46664 campaign remains highly visible, and that Mr Mandela’s appeal for help is heard by most South Africans,” he says.

Readers can find out more about the 46664 initiative and on how to become involved by going to either of the initiative’s websites – see the box on the right above. Also, South African residents can donate R20 to the cause by sending an SMS to 46664.

SAinfo reporter

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