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(Product) RED - Adventures of a Retired Armchair Traveler
sometimes i visit these: Congogirl on Twitter / Bloglines Congogirl link / Congogirl's Links List on My Del.icio.us / Where IS DR Congo, anyway?? / Congo Daily / good summary article on DR Congo / Samantha Power's article, "Bystanders to Genocide" / Dizolele - Eye on Africa / Congo Blog - Ba Leki / Cedric Kalonji's photo blog / Extra Extra / Nayembi / Thirteen Wildlife Blogs from DR Congo / Babycatcher / Global Voices / Helene in RD Congo / ID Land - adventures in international development / John's Blog / Kim Gjerstad in Congo / On Safari with el Jorgito / The Salon of News and Thought / This is Zimbabwe / Bluehaired Mary / African Path / Global Bioethics Blog / Somewhere in Africa / Africa is a Country February 2014
Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 11:08 am
(Product) RED

Have you heard about this initiative yet?

Bono, yes, of U2, has started this project called (Product) RED, which is a mechanism for some of your commerical dollars to be contributed to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

So far, the (Product) RED line includes:
1. An American Express RED card that donates 1% of your annual purchase balance to the Global Fund
2. A vintage-style RED T-shirt produced in Africa by GAP with 'proceeds' going to the Global Fund
3. Emporio Armani RED Wraparound Sunglasses worn by Bono -- no mention of 'proceeds'
4. And get this, Chuck Taylor All Star mudcloth shoes:

So, while the website does not explicitly indicate that Armani and Converse will be contributing proceeds to the Global Fund, one can assume that by buying GAP with your AmEx card, you are doing good in the world.

I already have an AmEx card, and I would be inclined to replace it with a RED card, and even stop by the GAP and buy a new RED t-shirt with it. Though on principle I do not support Corporate Evils like the GAP, in reality, well, it happens. So I might as well appease my troubled soul by knowing that a percentage goes to the Global Fund, right?

But these items are available starting in March IN THE UK ONLY. GAP/US will be releasing an expanded RED line of clothing in the fall (no mention on their site now), and it seems that some of the Converse 'mud cloth' Chucks will be available online (again, no mention currently; same with Armani, but their site is very difficult to navigate so it's possible that I missed it, although this should be a sign).

So far, AmEx RED is requiring that you have a UK bank account and address to sign up, though.

The campaign site is very attractive with its little intro and catchy logo of flashing words encompassing RED in them: admiRED, inspiRED, desiRED, incREDible, requiRED, you get the point.

And I certainly understand that because Bono's frame of reference is Ireland and the UK that he worked to garner support from those companies first.

However, it's not a successful global campaign to support the Global Fund if we can't participate. Think about it. The UK has 60 million people, only 20% of the US's 300 million. If (arbitrarily) 1 million UK residents signed up for the AmEx RED card and spent on average $500 a month, or $6,000 a year, then $60 from each person would go to the Global Fund, for a total of $60 million. That means that the US could raise $300 million for the Global Fund if the same proportion of people signed up (5 million people).

I would give up some of my miles/points to contribute to a goal like that, wouldn't you?

If anyone has any recommendations as to how to find out more information about WHY the American part of American Express is not on board, or how to change that, please leave me a comment.

In the mean time, if you would like to donate 100% of whatever you feel that you can afford directly to the Global Fund, rather than taking the backdoor commercial non-user-friendly route, here is the link. Donations are accepted in multiple currencies and can be made by credit card or check/money order.



Alli Cat
Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 08:59 am (UTC)

These are interesting, not sure if you had heard about them.


I bought a set of tags in all three messages, and combined them for my husband for Christmas. ( He wears the three message tags, and I had one of the blank ones engraved in Memory of his first wife who died if AIDS.

Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 09:04 am (UTC)

Can you point me to a more specific link? I don't believe I have seen them, and now I am intrigued.

ReplyThread Parent
Alli Cat
Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
more infp


The dog tag sets are $5 each, and are sold in sets, one blank with a embossed ribbon, and the other with one of the 3 campaign words, Hear, See, and Speak.

All proceeds go to YouthAids , and there is a great black and white ad run to go with it. Celebs with Duct tape over eyes, ears, and mouths, to represent the way many turn a blind "eye" to the issue.

Supposed to encourage you to Hear the truth about youth Aids, See the reality of the world as it is, and Speak out for prevention and protection.

I thought they were great, and my husband seemed interested, so I bought all three sets, and had one blank one engraved with his first wife's name. he wears them everyday.

Let me know what you think.

ReplyThread Parent
Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Re: more infp

I like the campaign a lot. YouthAIDS is a project of PSI, Population Services International, who does primarily social marketing for condoms and mosquito nets, and some other products on a smaller scale, such as kits for traditional birth attendants to use during delivery.

it's great that they get celebrities interested to get our attention.

The part that kind of rubs me the wrong way is Ashley Judd (who I really like, btw) being documented on film meeting all these "poor people." I haven't watched the film or anything, but the stills make me want to retch, with Lovely Benevolent Ashley hugging the Poor Sickly Children of Africa, holding hands and stroking foreheads etc.

Hey, whatever it takes to make people aware.

ReplyThread Parent

Tue, Jan. 31st, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)

Hi Congogirl,
I only used "Anonymous" because your blog's technology was a bit much for me and I have to dash. I think every little bit of help,er, well helps, and to each her own, etc. covering my butt, etc.... but I think I favour direct giving to an organisation that you trust or belong to. Otherwise, the thing risks becoming a sort of excuse or expiation for shopping, as in, it is quite alright to buy these $900 Balenciaga boots because gosh...some organisation will then get $9. Isn't it easier just to look at your total expendable income and decide what percentage of it you want to share with other people, and in what way? After all, that's what the government does, sigh. Oh, this is actually W.M. from Mad Woman.

Wed, Feb. 1st, 2006 06:01 am (UTC)

Hi, I am sorry, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to know who you are?? I'm not getting your clue... post a link for me!

But, I do agree with what you said -- giving directly is always better, as were shown in analyses of how much money actually goes to breast cancer research after you spend all that time collecting yogurt tops.

I think the advantage of these programs is that people can make an easy consumer decision, perhaps purchase something they already had in mind, but shift the decision to one that supports a cause. They wouldn't normally take the time to donate, but through their purchase, they know that Someone will donate, so they have made a Good Decision and been a Conscious Consumer, because the corporate monster has to give a percentage of profits to the cause. And while it may be a tiny percentage for the corporation, for an organization like the Global Fund, it can make a big difference.

ReplyThread Parent