Friday, 25 March 2011

Product Red

Product Red, styled as (PRODUCT)RED, is a brand licensed to partner companies such as Nike, American Express (UK), Apple Inc., Starbucks, Converse, Bugaboo, Penguin Classics (UK & International), Gap, Emporio Armani, Hallmark (US) and Dell. It was founded in 2006 by U2 frontman and activist Bono and Bobby Shriver of ONE/DATA to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is the recipient of (RED) monies. However, many[who?] accuse the campaign of profiting by using diseases as a marketing vehicle.[citation needed][weasel words] Bono is an active public spokesperson for the brand.[1]

Susan Smith Ellis was named CEO in June 2007[2]. Each partner company creates a product with the Product Red logo. In return for the opportunity to increase its own revenue through the Product Red products that it sells, a percentage of the profit is given to the Global Fund

The Global Fund

Created in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria supports large-scale prevention, treatment and care programs for these three infectious diseases.[4] Today, a quarter of all international funding for HIV/AIDS-related programs, over half for tuberculosis, and almost three-quarters for malaria worldwide comes from The Global Fund. The concept of “performance-based funding” is central to the organization and only those grant recipients who can demonstrate measurable and effective results from the monies received will be able to receive additional financing.[5] 100% of the funds generated by (RED) partners and events goes to Global Fund programs that provide medical care and support services for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. No overhead is taken by either (RED) or the Global Fund. (RED) is the largest private sector donor to the Global Fund, and has generated over $150 million for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa

Guiding principles

Product Red states that its main principles are:

    * To expand opportunities for the people in the continent of Africa.
    * To respect its employees and ask its partners to do the same with their employees and the people who help make their products or deliver their services.
    * To promote the fight against HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
    * To see the power of a community mobilized for hope, health and progress.
    * To ask its partners to uphold the same principles.


Products include:[8]

    * Bugaboo International. A Dutch design company that makes pushchairs for infants and toddlers. When you choose 'any' Bugaboo product, Bugaboo contributes 1 % of its total revenue to The Global Fund.
    * American Express Red card.
    * Gap is selling an ongoing line of merchandise including T-shirts, jackets, scarves, gloves, jewelry, bags and purses. Gap donates 50% of all Product Red profits directly to the Global Fund.
    * Converse is selling a shoe made from African mud cloth.
    * Giorgio Armani has announced a line of Emporio Armani products that include clothes, jewelry, perfume, and accessories.
    * Motorola has announced special editions of their SLVR, KRZR and RAZR mobile phones, with a 50% profit of each purchase going to the Global Fund. It is believed that the Red RAZR was first launched with service by Sprint in November 2006, but it was actually US Cellular who first did it in Chicago, one month previous to Sprint. Bono, Penélope Cruz, Oprah and Chris Rock were some of the celebrities who attended the opening of the (RED) location in Chicago.
    * Canon released a version of their popular SD990 camera along with a leather case in 2008/2009. Only 500 were produced globally.
    * The Independent newspaper is in partnership with Product Red.
    * The Hotel Café tour is presented by MySpace and Product Red.
    * Apple Inc. has released five generations of special edition iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle with a Product Red theme, as well as a Red $25 iTunes Gift Card. Apple has also announced a Product Red branded Smart Cover for the iPad 2.
    * Nike has released a special line of red shoelaces available for purchase, with 100% of the profit going to the charity. Their motto is "Lace up, save lives."
      Nike (RED) laces
    * NEED magazine is in partnership with Product Red.
    * Hallmark has introduced greeting cards that are Product Red.
    * Dell has released three computers (M1330, M1530 and XPS One) and one printer (V505 All-In-One) that are Product Red; the contract will last for 3 years as of January 2008.
    * Microsoft and Dell have teamed up to offer a new Dell laptop that included a new Windows Vista SKU called Windows Vista Ultimate (Product) Red.
    * Windows Vista Ultimate (Product) Red included six wallpapers, two sidebar gadgets, one screen saver, and one DreamScene movie.
    * Girl Skateboard Company released a two-part deck series with a (Product) Red graphic. A share of the profit goes to the charities.
    * Starbucks participated during their 2008 holiday promotion. For every holiday beverage ordered, 5 cents went to Product Red. Starbucks also offers the Red Card and donates five cents every time the card is used in a transaction.
    * The Killers write a Christmas song every year, with the latest being "Boots", in aid of RED.
    * Flowe(RED) a new online flower delivery service launched in the UK.
    * Monster Cable make special edition of Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD with name Solo HD (PRODUCT)RED[9]
    * Carolina Bucci has created a Special Edition of her gold and silk Lucky bracelets.


Product Red has been criticized for not having an impact proportional to the advertising investment, for being much less efficient than direct charitable contribution,[10] and for having a lack of transparency with regards to the amount of money going to charity as a percentage of every purchase. Some critics argue that a retail middleman between donor and charity is unnecessary; donors should just give.[11] Another critique is that Product Red's expansion into traditional fundraising techniques, such as art auctions, undermines its claim to be a different and more sustainable approach to raising money for AIDS.[12] Other critics have pointed out that its emphasis on funding treatment for AIDS sufferers meant that large amounts of the money will ultimately end up with pharmaceutical companies "unwilling to distribute their drugs for free".[13] Many accuse the campaign of profiting by using diseases as a marketing vehicle,[13] for being "cause branding" rather than corporate social responsibility.[14] In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Mark Rosenman wrote that it was an "example of the corporate world aligning its operations with its central purpose of increasing shareholder profit, except this time it is being cloaked in the patina of philanthropy."[15]

The National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights criticised Product Red for its links with Gap,[16] which was historically a target of anti-sweatshop activists, although anti-sweatshop organisation Labour Behind the Label states that Gap has "come further than many"[17] clothing companies to counter exploitation.[18] Gap's Product Red clothes are made in Lesotho, rather than simply for the best price in China (this goes beyond the requirements of Product Red). Labour Behind the Label criticises Product Red for not requiring more measures to protect the rights of the workers who make their products.[17]

Old data released in 2007 by Advertising Age claims retail participants in Product Red including Gap, Motorola and Apple Inc. have invested $100 million in advertising and raised only $18 million for The Global Fund[10]. In July 2010, however, (RED) claims to have raised over $150 million for the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. They also state that 100% of (RED) money is allocated to one of the Global Fund (RED) grants in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia. More than 5 million people have been reached with testing, counseling, treatment, and other services due to support from the Global Fund and (RED). [1] Apple donated $10 of the sale of their $149 iPod during the initial stages of the campaign, and no longer discloses how much it donates.[19] The Official (Product) RED website confirms that "The purchase of 1 iPod Nano (Product)RED can provide over 3 weeks of lifesaving medicine to someone living with HIV in Africa."[20] Dell's website states that it costs US$0.40 to provide one day's worth of medication.[21] By combining both facts, one arrives at the conclusion that Apple donates at least US$8.40 from the purchase of each iPod Nano Product(RED) to the Global Fund.

One spoof campaign known as BUY (LESS) mocks the consumerist bent of (RED) with its own call to "BUY (LESS) CRAP!"[22]. The BUY (LESS) campaign encourages people to forgo the premium-level products and donate directly to charities. The BUY (LESS) campaign carries the slogan, "Shopping is not a solution. Buy (Less). Give More." The BUY (LESS) campaign site features a short list of recommended charities, such as: World Vision, Global Fast, and Habitat for Humanity. The (LESS) campaign also holds out a critical letter to (RED) CEO Bobby Shriver, posted online.