updated 09:35 am EST, Tue March 6, 2007
(Product) RED disappoints
A new report is challenging the effectiveness and return on Bono's PRODUCT RED campaign, although spokespersons for the charity deny some of those reports. It has been one year since the beginning of the Red campaign, which has recruited high profile U.S. companies such as Apple, GAP, and Motorola. In addition to the hype and buzz, a slew of publicity and marketing has included celebrity endorsements on billboards, magazine advertisements, and television -- with estimates of total marketing dollars projected as high as $100 million. That has resulted in only $18 million in donations to the charity, leaving many to question the effectiveness of the campaign and fundraising project. The results threaten to spur a backlash not just against the Red campaign -- which ambitiously set out to change the cause-marketing model by allowing partners to profit from charity -- but also for the brands involved.
The Global Fund's "Red" anti-AIDS campaign, however, vigorously disputed reports Monday that its marketing budget grossly exceeds charitable donations the fund has received, calling the estimated $100 million marketing budget "wrong" and an "overcalculation." It said also said that it raised closer to $25 million worldwide in 2006 and the advertising money was spent by its partners rather than the charity organization.