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« Groceries for Breast Cancer | How to Communicate with Everybody and Nobody »

October 5, 2006

Buy Stuff. Fight AIDS.

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks | Filed under: Cause Marketing

That's the basic premise of Red. A number of companies including Motorola, Gap, Converse and American Express have joined Red to sell branded products with a percentage of the profit going to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The idea is that people are buying this stuff anyway, so why not buy stuff that will help fight AIDS? It's the brainchild of U2's Bono and the Kennedy family's Bobby Shriver, the same folks who have been involved in other idealistic ventures like One and DATA. Only this time around there's money to be made.

"Gap in the beginning couldn't understand how they were going to make money," Shriver said. "They wanted to do a T-shirt and give us all the money. But, we want them to make money. We don't want anyone to be thinking, 'I'm not making money on this thing,' because then we failed. We want people buying houses in the Hamptons based on this because, if that happens, this thing is sustainable."

And that's the deal. It needs to be a sustainable venture. It's doing well while doing good.

"I could go with my begging bowl every year to a major corporation and say 'give me some money,' and they might give me a one-off contribution, but it wouldn't be large and it wouldn't be sustainable," Global Fund Executive Director Dr. Richard Feachem said. "Red is intrinsically sustainable because Red is good for the companies."


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