Post by Andy Jeninga
To some, this might sound like the opening of a comedy routine. To others, it should serve as the kick off of the (Product) RED campaign in the U.S., including the launch of a new RED iPod. The campaign, which has been in progress for about 6 months in Great Britain, enlists numerous high profile companies to design a special RED product line -- a certain percentage of the profits of these products will then go towards existing Global Fund programs. According to a spokesman for the campaign, RED has already raised $12 million and looks to add millions more to the Global Fund coffers with the American launch.
In a recent article on CNN.com, Bono said, "Some people won't put on marching boots, so we've got to get to people where they are at, and they're in the shopping malls. Now you're buying jeans and T-shirts, and you're paying for 10 women in Africa to get medication for their children with HIV."
It will be interesting to see the reaction of the public towards RED. This campaign holds a vast amount of opportunity, as it can exploit the American obsession with retail, and it may also successfully tap the private sector for global health funding, an area in which the Global Fund has seen mixed results. Hopefully, RED will serve as a harbinger of good things to come from the private sector. Bono spoke of his excitement in the same CNN.com article, "We've moved from the philanthropy budgets to the marketing budgets, and guess what, there's no comparison in size. We now have some of the most creative people in commerce -- Steve Jobs, the marketing people at Gap and Motorola -- all working for the world's poor. That is so so cool."
As we wait to see the direct and indirect results of RED, do as Bono might say, 'be cool: go RED.'