Product Red

Product Red
Product Red logo.

Product Red, styled as (PRODUCT)RED, is a brand licensed to partner companies such as Nike, American Express (UK), Apple Inc., Starbucks, Converse, Bugaboo, Penguin Classics (UK & International), Gap, Emporio Armani, Hallmark (US) and Dell. It was founded in 2006 by U2 frontman and activist Bono and Bobby Shriver of ONE/DATA to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is the recipient of (RED) monies. Bono is an active public spokesperson for the brand.[1] Didier Drogba is also a spokesperson for the brand and is the face of the Nike (RED) Laces campaign.[2]

Susan Smith Ellis was named CEO in June 2007[3]. Each partner company creates a product with the Product Red logo. In return for the opportunity to increase its own revenue through the Product Red products that it sells, a percentage of the profit is given to the Global Fund.[4]


The Global Fund

Created in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria supports large-scale prevention, treatment and care programs for these three infectious diseases.[5] Today, a quarter of all international funding for HIV/AIDS-related programs, over half for tuberculosis, and almost three-quarters for malaria worldwide comes from The Global Fund. The concept of “performance-based funding” is central to the organization and only those grant recipients who can demonstrate measurable and effective results from the monies received will be able to receive additional financing.[6] 100% of the funds generated by (RED) partners and events goes to Global Fund programs that provide medical care and support services for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. No overhead is taken by either (RED) or the Global Fund. (RED) is the largest private sector donor to the Global Fund, and has generated over $150 million for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.[7]

The Lazarus Effect

The Lazarus Effect documentary debuted on May 24, 2010 on HBO, YouTube and Britain's Channel 4. It is directed by Lance Bangs, executive produced by Spike Jonze and presented by (RED), HBO, and Anonymous Content.[8] The documentary follows HIV-positive people in Zambia and shows the transformation possible with access to lifesaving pills that cost around 40 cents a day.[9] The film is also available via a free iPad app called "(RED): The Lazarus Effect," which contains the full length documentary, additional information about how antiretroviral drugs work and photos of the transformative effect that ARVs can have.[10] In May 2010, (RED) launched a complimentary PSA campaign to promote the film. [11]

The Lazarus Effect public service campaign features celebrities including Bono, Don Cheadle, Hugh Jackman, Penelope Cruz, Iman, Gwen Stefani, Gabourey Sidibe, and Common. Celebrity participation and the media placement for The Lazarus Effect campaign, was secured pro-bono.[12]

(RED) Impact

(RED) was designed to provide a scalable and sustainable flow of funds to the Global Fund. By 2011, it had generated $170 million[13] to support Global Fund financed AIDS grants. These grants have reached more than 7.5 million people in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.

Rwanda (RED) has provided antiretroviral therapy (ART) to more than 27,000 people living with HIV and reached over 34,000 HIV positive pregnant women with preventative ART to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of the virus.[14]

Lesotho (RED) has provided more than 45,000 people living with HIV with lifesaving ART and reached more than 16,000 HIV positive pregnant women with preventive ART to reduce mother-to-child transmission of the virus.[15]

Guiding principles

Product Red states that its main principles are:[16]

  • To expand opportunities for the people in the continent of Africa.
  • To respect its employees and ask its partners to do the same with their employees and the people who help make their products or deliver their services.
  • To see the power of a community mobilized for hope, health and progress.
  • To ask its partners to uphold the same principles.
  • To transform the collective power of consumers into a financial force to help fight AIDS in Africa.
  • To engage businesses to create a sustainable and scalable flow of private sector funding to the fight against AIDS in Africa.
  • To ensure 100% of (RED) money goes to AIDS programs through the Global Fund, with no overhead taken.
  • To promote awareness of HIV/AIDS in Africa.


A (PRODUCT)RED iPod Nano, one of the products included in Product Red

Products include:[17]

  • Bugaboo International. A Dutch design company that makes pushchairs for infants and toddlers. When you choose 'any' Bugaboo product, Bugaboo contributes 1 % of its total revenue to The Global Fund.
  • American Express Red card.
  • Gap is selling an ongoing line of merchandise including T-shirts, jackets, scarves, gloves, jewelry, bags and purses. Gap donates 50% of all Product Red profits directly to the Global Fund.
  • Converse is selling a shoe made from African mud cloth.
  • Giorgio Armani has announced a line of Emporio Armani products that include clothes, jewelry, perfume, and accessories.
  • Motorola has announced special editions of their SLVR, KRZR and RAZR mobile phones, with a 50% profit of each purchase going to the Global Fund. It is believed that the Red RAZR was first launched with service by Sprint in November 2006, but it was actually US Cellular who first did it in Chicago, one month previous to Sprint. Bono, Penélope Cruz, Oprah and Chris Rock were some of the celebrities who attended the opening of the (RED) location in Chicago.
  • Canon released a version of their popular SD990 camera along with a leather case in 2008/2009. Only 500 were produced globally.
  • The Independent newspaper is in partnership with Product Red.
  • The Hotel Café tour is presented by MySpace and Product Red.
  • Apple Inc. has released five generations of special edition iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle with a Product Red theme, as well as a Red $25 iTunes Gift Card. Apple has also announced a Product Red branded Smart Cover for the iPad 2.
  • Nike has released a special line of red shoelaces available for purchase, with 100% of the profit going to the charity. Their motto is "Lace up, save lives."
    Nike (RED) laces
    Didier Drogba is the face for the promotion of the laces.
  • NEED magazine is in partnership with Product Red.
  • Hallmark has introduced greeting cards that are Product Red.
  • Dell has released three computers (M1330, M1530 and XPS One) and one printer (V505 All-In-One) that are Product Red; the contract will last for 3 years as of January 2008.
  • Microsoft and Dell have teamed up to offer a new Dell laptop that included a new Windows Vista SKU called Windows Vista Ultimate (Product) Red.
  • Windows Vista Ultimate (Product) Red included six wallpapers, two sidebar gadgets, one screen saver, and one DreamScene movie.
  • Girl Skateboard Company released a two-part deck series with a (Product) Red graphic. A share of the profit goes to the charities.
  • Starbucks participated during their 2008 holiday promotion. For every holiday beverage ordered, 5 cents went to Product Red. Starbucks also offers the Red Card and donates five cents every time the card is used in a transaction.
  • The Killers write a Christmas song every year, with the latest being "Boots", in aid of RED.
  • Flowe(RED) a new online flower delivery service launched in the UK.
  • Monster Cable make special edition of Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD with name Solo HD (PRODUCT)RED[18]
  • Carolina Bucci has created a Special Edition of her gold and silk Lucky bracelets.


Product Red has been criticized for not having an impact proportional to the advertising investment, for being much less efficient than direct charitable contribution,[19] and for having a lack of transparency with regards to the amount of money going to charity as a percentage of every purchase. Some critics argue that a retail middleman between donor and charity is unnecessary; donors should just give.[20] Another critique is that Product Red's expansion into traditional fundraising techniques, such as art auctions, undermines its claim to be a different and more sustainable approach to raising money for AIDS.[21] Other critics have pointed out that its emphasis on funding treatment for AIDS sufferers meant that large amounts of the money will ultimately end up with pharmaceutical companies "unwilling to distribute their drugs for free".[22] Many accuse the campaign of profiting by using diseases as a marketing vehicle,[22] for being "cause branding" rather than corporate social responsibility.[23] In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Mark Rosenman wrote that it was an "example of the corporate world aligning its operations with its central purpose of increasing shareholder profit, except this time it is being cloaked in the patina of philanthropy."[24]

The National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights criticised Product Red for its links with Gap,[25] which was historically a target of anti-sweatshop activists, although anti-sweatshop organisation Labour Behind the Label states that Gap has "come further than many"[26] clothing companies to counter exploitation.[27] Gap's Product Red clothes are made in Lesotho, rather than simply for the best price in China (this goes beyond the requirements of Product Red). Labour Behind the Label criticises Product Red for not requiring more measures to protect the rights of the workers who make their products.[26]

Old data released in 2007 by Advertising Age claims retail participants in Product Red including Gap, Motorola and Apple Inc. have invested $100 million in advertising and raised only $18 million for The Global Fund[19]. In July 2010, however, (RED) claims to have raised over $150 million for the Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. They also state that 100% of (RED) money is allocated to one of the Global Fund (RED) grants in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia. More than 5 million people have been reached with testing, counseling, treatment, and other services due to support from the Global Fund and (RED). [1] Apple donated $10 of the sale of their $149 iPod during the initial stages of the campaign, and no longer discloses how much it donates.[28] The Official (Product) RED website confirms that "The purchase of 1 iPod Nano (Product)RED can provide over 3 weeks of lifesaving medicine to someone living with HIV in Africa."[29] Dell's website states that it costs US$0.40 to provide one day's worth of medication.[30] By combining both facts, one arrives at the conclusion that Apple donates at least US$8.40 from the purchase of each iPod Nano Product(RED) to the Global Fund.

One spoof campaign known as BUY (LESS) mocks the consumerist bent of (RED) with its own call to "BUY (LESS) CRAP!"[31]. The BUY (LESS) campaign encourages people to forgo the premium-level products and donate directly to charities. The BUY (LESS) campaign carries the slogan, "Shopping is not a solution. Buy (Less). Give More." The BUY (LESS) campaign site features a short list of recommended charities, such as: World Vision, Global Fast, and Habitat for Humanity. The (LESS) campaign also holds out a critical letter to (RED) CEO Bobby Shriver, posted online.


Launch Date Product Type Partner Product Name Description Amount donated to Global Fund (US$) MSRP (US$)
January 26, 2006 Launch WEF Announcement (Product) Red initiative first announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Global Fund identifies Rwanda as the first country to receive funding from (Product) Red.
March 1, 2006 Credit Card American Express American Express Red American Express Red Card launched in the UK. Only UK residents with UK bank accounts are eligible. 1% of total spend. Up to 1.25% after spend over £5,000. No annual fee for life. Typical 16.9% APR variable.
March 15, 2006 Clothing Gap Gap Red Launch party in London for the Gap line with 22 page feature in the April issue of Dazed & Confused magazine. 50% of profits from sales of Product Red items
April 3, 2006 Fashion accessory Giorgio Armani Emporio Armani sunglasses Metal wrap-around sunglasses (style EA 9285/S) launched worldwide. Available in green, rose, blue, smoke grey, grey and brown, all embossed with the Emporio Armani Red logo. The forked frame arms, available in shades of ruthenium, gunmetal and light gold, are superimposed on the single lenses. 40% of gross profit margin from sales of all Emporio Armani Red products directly to the Global Fund.[32]
April 3, 2006 Shoes Converse Mudcloth shoes Converse (Product Red) limited edition Mudcloth trainers, designed by Giles Deacon, are available in the UK and US. 5 - 15% of Net wholesale price Starting from $60
May 15, 2006 Mobile phone Motorola Red Motorola SLVR Red Motorola SLVR L7 launches in the UK £10 & 5% of every bill $249.99
May 15, 2006 Newspaper The Independent
August, 2006 Fashion watches Giorgio Armani Emporio Armani watch Giorgio Armani's second Red product is an Emporio Armani unisex watch (style AR0537/AR0538). It features a large 43 mm stainless steel case with a coin-ridged bezel, a leather strap available in black with red contrast stitching, or vice-versa, and steel rivets that secure the strap to the case. The large digital dial displays the time in oversized numerals and has calendar, chronograph and timer features with push button controls on the side of the case. The dial also features the Emporio Armani Red logo at 12 o’clock printed onto the dial's outer ring. 40% of gross profit margin (see sunglasses) $225
September 21, 2006 Newspaper The Independent The Independent printed its second (Product) Red special edition, guest-designed by Giorgio Armani. This Red edition includes articles from a host of public figures and celebrities including George Clooney, Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio and Beyoncé. The newspaper's daily features section, Extra, is a 36-page magazine for the day and each paper comes with a free Kate Moss poster. All revenue from online sales will be donated to help fight AIDS in Africa. All revenue from online sales.
October 2006 MP3 player Apple Inc. iPod nano (Product) Red Special Edition Red iPod nano which is only available at the Apple Store and the Apple Store website. [2] $10 $199–$249
November 2006 Mobile phone Motorola Red Motorola RAZR US Cellular launches the Red Motorola RAZR in the United States $17 $259.99
January 9, 2007 Stored-value card Apple Inc. iTunes (Product) Red Gift Card Gift card for purchases at Apple's iTunes online store, for movies, TV shows or music. Currently only available in the US at Apple's online store. 10% ($2.50) $25
June 2007 Magazine Vanity Fair Bono edits the issue of the magazine, title "The Africa Issue", which features a wide array of celebrities dedicated to issues in Africa (including Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Bono, Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Brad Pitt, Djimon Hounsou, Madonna, Maya Angelou, Chris Rock, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Iman Abdulmajid, and Don Cheadle.) on a total of twenty different covers. $5 of every subscription to Vanity Fair sold.
September 7, 2007 MP3 player Apple Inc. iPod nano, iPod shuffle (Product) Red Special Edition (Product) Red is available with the 1GB and 2GB iPod Shuffle, and the 8GB and 16GB iPod nano, which are only available at the Apple Store, and the Apple Store website. [3] $10 (Nano) shuffle $49(1GB), $69(2GB); nano $149(8GB), $199(16GB)
January 24, 2008 Computers/Operating system Dell Inc. + Microsoft Corporation XPS One, XPS 1330, XPS 1530, and AIO 948 Printer (Product) Red Special Edition; All computers include Windows Vista Ultimate (RED)[33] (Product) Red is available with the XPS One (80 dollar donation), XPS 1330 (50 dollar donation), XPS 1530 (50 dollar donation), and the AIO 948 (5 dollar donation) 80.00, 50.00, or 5.00 XPS One starting at $1599, XPS 1330 and XPS 1530 starting at $1,149 and AIO 948 starting at $99
November 11, 2008 MP3 player Apple Inc. iPod nano (Product) Red Special Edition Apple announces new iPod nano 4th generation (Product) Red N/A Apple iPod Nano starts at $149 for an 8GB capacity, with a 16GB version costing $199
November 27, 2008 Beverages Starbucks (STARBUCKS)RED Exclusive beverages RED exclusive beverages consist of Starbucks holiday beverage options including Peppermint Mocha Twist, Gingersnap Latte, and Espresso Truffle $0.05 from every (STARBUCKS)RED Exclusive beverage sold through January 9, 2009.
November 30, 2009 Shoelaces Nike (NIKE) RED laces Red shoelaces with the slogan "Lace Up. Save Lives." Sponsored by footballers Didier Drogba (Chelsea F.C.), Joe Cole (Liverpool F.C.), Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal F.C.), Denilson (Arsenal F.C.), Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan), Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Clint Dempsey (Fulham F.C.) and Seol Ki-Hyeon (Fulham F.C.) 100% $4/pair
May 20, 2010 Books Penguin Books Penguin Classics (RED) Penguin Classics is publishing a set of eight classic novels: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola. 50% of profits £6.99/£7.99 a book.

See also


  1. ^ Source BBC News
  2. ^
  3. ^ Source: Goliath News
  4. ^ Global Business Coalition (2006, January 27). Ethical shopping: The Red Revolution. Retrieved January 04, 2007, from
  5. ^ Source: Avert
  6. ^ Source: Gates Foundation
  7. ^ Source: the Global Fund
  8. ^ Adweek May 2010
  9. ^ Huffington Post May 2010
  10. ^ May 2010
  11. ^ May 2010
  12. ^ MediaPost May 2010
  13. ^ The Global Fund
  14. ^ The Global Fund
  15. ^ The Global Fund
  16. ^ (RED) Guiding Principles.
  17. ^, Products.
  18. ^ Solo HD (PRODUCT)RED.
  19. ^ a b AfriComNet, African Network for Strategic Communication in Health and Development, Costly Red Campaign Reaps Meager $18 Million, March 5, 2007.
  20. ^, News & Commentary: (Red) Gets a Beating, Mar 20, 2007 Archive.
  21. ^, News & Commentary: "The Global Fund Not Seeing Red", April 29, 2008
  22. ^ a b, Retailers tap into shoppers' do-gooder spirit, by Matthew Perrone, December 2, 2006.
  23. ^ Yuvraj Joshi, Can Red Lattes beat Aids in Africa? The Guardian, 1 December 2009
  24. ^ Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Patina of Philanthropy by Mark Rosenman, April 11, 2007.
  25. ^ New York Magazine, Achtung, Bono! Activists See Red, by Geoffrey Gray Published Oct 23, 2006.
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^
  28. ^ Apple - iPod - (PRODUCT) RED
  29. ^ (Product) RED official Website
  30. ^ Dell (Product) RED site proclaims that medicine costs 40¢ a day.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Emporio Armani official Press Release" (HTML, DOC). Retrieved October 29, 2006. 
  33. ^ Windows Vista (Product) Red


External links

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