When Going (RED) Means Serious Green
Posted by Michael Dossett
We know the statistics; they are too staggering to be denied. Of the 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, 22 million live in Africa. For many, sympathy for the plight of the African people is the end of the road. For U2 frontman Bono and California city councilman Bobby Shriver, they took the proverbial “road less travelled”. The two heavy-hitters found common ground with their desire to provide sustainable funding for life-saving medications for individuals in Africa who otherwise would not have access to them. From these two stars, another was born: Product (RED).
Bill Gates, Bono, and Michael Dell with Product (RED) Gear
Since 2006, Product (RED) has donated over $140 million to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, making it a rockstar among charities. (RED), however, is not a charity. It’s a business model. Corporate partners like Nike, Apple, Emporio Armani, Motorola, Dell, Microsoft Windows, Converse, GAP, and others team up with (RED) to create and sell (RED) branded products. At no additional cost to the consumer, shoppers can “donate” the profits earned by buying the product directly to the Global Fund. At no inconvenience or additional burden to the customer, they can purchase the same high-quality products they were planning to, while helping to save lives in the process. So why are some individuals voicing concern regarding the structure of Product (RED)?
While a majority of the world is embracing (RED) as a revolutionary force that is saving thousands of lives, some argue that, as a business model rather than a non-profit charity, (RED) isn’t doing everything it could be to provide funding. According to Bono, (RED) donates approximately 50% of the proceeds from sales of partnered products to the Global Fund. Opponents argue that isn’t enough. Why not 100%?
Everest Team INSPI(RED) In Action With Dell (RED) Laptop
The reasoning is simple – their goal is to provide sustainable funding to fight disease and prolong the lives of individuals infected with HIV/AIDS. By leveraging the supreme power of the private sector to fight AIDS in Africa, (RED) is seeking to inject a continuous flow of corporate money into the Global Fund. Just 40 cents for two pills a day can keep a person living with HIV alive. With nearly 4,000 Africans dying each day from AIDS, the need for aid is undeniable. By creating a system that is beneficial for the corporate partners and the recepient foundations, (RED) ensures sustainability.
The benefits for the individuals receiving aid through (RED) are clear, as are the financial incentives for the companies that choose to be involved. The intangible impact of corporations involving themselves with (RED) is perhaps equally important. In a previous post about using charity to promote business, we discussed how partnership with charitable organizations can positively impact the public perception of a brand. The corporate partners of (RED) are undoubtedly enjoying these effects.
Apple iPod – Product (RED) Edition
Product (RED) is a business model that empowers customers and provides the private sector and foundations that fight HIV/AIDS with an opportunity to mutually benefit from a (RED) partnership. Skeptics will argue that 50% donation is not enough, but it is vitally important to recognize that the objective is to encourage sustainable funding in the long term.
The message is simple: “Join (RED). Save Lives.”, and corporations, customers, celebrities are embracing Product (RED) with open arms.
About Michael DossettInactive since Sept. 2011
Posted on March 28, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged Apple, Bill Gates, Bobby Shriver, Bono, Business Model, Charity, Converse, Dell, Emporio Armani, GAP, Global Fund, iPod, Michael Dell, Mt. Everest, Nike, Product (RED), Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Team Inspi(red), U2, Windows. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.