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October 13, 2006 2:47 PM   Subscribe

(RED) is an initiative started by Bono and Bobby Shriver, to (Embrace) you in the fight against AIDS in Africa whenever you buy iconic red-colored products like the iPod, Amex card, Armani and others. A portion of the sales proceeds of each product goes to the Global Fund charity that gives away antiretroviral drugs to HIV infected people. Watch out for Bono painting the town red with/on Oprah today to mark its US release. Make friends with it on mySpace.
posted by forwebsites (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
another ultra-lame celebrity whitewash. do bono and oprah, both of whom, i'm sure, haaaaaaate aids, address the horrible social consequences of the ingredients of their fashion ipods [eg the child-riddled wars in the congo for coltan, a key component of most modern portable electronics?]? do they then subsequently tackle the poverty and endemic illnesses of those who deal with the e-waste produced by our 18-month product cycle?
posted by yonation at 3:00 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


One at a time buddy. Just think how I feel with my male breast cancer!
posted by basicchannel at 3:02 PM on October 13, 2006


Or to put it another way:

If you buy a red iPod nano, Apple gives $10 to fight AIDS. If you buy a blue iPod nano, Apple gives $10 to Steve.
posted by smackfu at 3:04 PM on October 13, 2006



posted by yonation at 3:06 PM on October 13, 2006


yonation is right. Let's not give medicine to Africans dying of AIDS until we can be sure that mega-corporations Stateside are morally pure before they contribute.

We should never do anything to make the world better until we are sure that nothing we do will have any negative effects ever.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:19 PM on October 13, 2006


eustacescrubb is right - lets scrubb over real solutions with simple paper-over ones!!
posted by yonation at 3:24 PM on October 13, 2006


I like to dip all of my charitable donations in the blood of dead kittens.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:24 PM on October 13, 2006


How bout let's not give medicine to africans with the aids virus until we have some proof that hte aids virus causes death?
posted by shownomercy at 3:32 PM on October 13, 2006


lets scrubb over real solutions with simple paper-over ones!!

You have the "Real Solutions?" So, you're the one! You been holding out on us?

Er.
Oh. No. You don't.

Then. Please just shut up. Please.
posted by tkchrist at 3:46 PM on October 13, 2006


It's $10 more per product than most consumer electronics giants tend to give. Unfortunately it's also mostly just free advertising and hype since you have to buy the red one, and not just any iPod. It would be nice if they matched donations from anyone who purchased an iPod, regardless of the type. As much as I'm not a Gates fan, at least he doesn't appear to tie his cheritable donations to the marketing of a product.
posted by furtive at 3:52 PM on October 13, 2006


Corporation exploits third-world populations, makes money, sells consumer product, starts publicity campaign to skim the cream off the exploitation of third-world populations. Jaded, vacant-eyed hipsters purchase consumer product tied to publicity campaign, feel secure that their lifestyle is morally okay. World turns on its axis.

News at 11.
posted by nasreddin at 3:59 PM on October 13, 2006


The coltan thing is way, way overblown, and it's all predicated on the idea that Africans can't have any natural resources without killing each other like animals over it.

There was a good article a few years ago by someone who actually went to the Congo and visited the coltan mines, and while it was hardly paradise, it was a lot better then not having hardly anything as before. In fact, the restrictions on Congolese coltan were causing more problems for the people there then before (and, by the way, the bans were put in place to protect gorillas which were being killed for food by miners, not the people.)

and the "18 month product cycle"? How much of our garpage is 'obsolete electronics'? Almost all of mine is food packaging.
posted by delmoi at 4:00 PM on October 13, 2006


I'm not a Gates fan, at least he doesn't appear to tie his cheritable donations to the marketing of a product.

I'm sure somebody will find a reason to tell us why THAT is all wrong too.

"Bill Gates just gave a billion dollars to fight aids so peole would stop making fun of his hair cut... it's not a "Real Solution(tm)!"
posted by tkchrist at 4:02 PM on October 13, 2006


Hey, there. Want to help? DONATE A FEW BUCKS or something. Jeepers. This appears to be more about hipster fashion-accesorizing than actually doing anything to help.
posted by chasing at 4:33 PM on October 13, 2006


How bout let's not give medicine to africans with the aids virus until we have some proof that hte aids virus causes death?

I'm scratching my head here.
PS: Don't buy a red iPod, donate $20. Unless you really want a red iPod.
posted by ®@ at 4:34 PM on October 13, 2006


I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn't I buy the BLUE iPod?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:39 PM on October 13, 2006


I know this isn't really related, but it's been bothering me...
"Every time you shop with American Express RED we will give 1% of your total spend to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS in Africa."
I've been seeing this a lot lately, and I'd like to know when the hell the word "spend" became a noun.
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:47 PM on October 13, 2006


> It's $10 more per product than most consumer electronics giants tend to give.

You could give the entire price of the fucking thing to an AIDS organization, instead of buying one.

.......NAAAAA
posted by jfuller at 4:51 PM on October 13, 2006


Hey, Bobby! If you're working on fixing Africa, I guess that means you've helped solve Santa Monica's homeless problems, right? You remembe Santa Monica, don't you? That place that elected your worthless, hedge-growing ass a few years ago?
posted by RakDaddy at 4:52 PM on October 13, 2006


remember

Outrage affects my typping.

Dammit!
posted by RakDaddy at 4:53 PM on October 13, 2006


(RED) is the new black?
posted by hal9k at 4:56 PM on October 13, 2006


"You could give the entire price of the fucking thing to an AIDS organization, instead of buying one."

You could give the entire price of fucking anything to an AIDS organization. You could stop buying anything at all and give all your money to AIDS organizations!

Or - you could also choose to donate what and when you can, and then when you have other purchases to make, choose to spend that money with organizations that will kick a little back to worthy causes.

So no - don't go buy consumer goods for AIDS charity. But if you're going to buy an iPod - how would it be a bad thing to buy one that directs some cash to an AIDS charity when you do?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:00 PM on October 13, 2006


I've been seeing this a lot lately, and I'd like to know when the hell the word "spend" became a noun.

I think in this case it's a Britishism, since it's a UK-only card.
posted by smackfu at 5:05 PM on October 13, 2006


@smackfu: Here, perhaps. I've been seeing it in quite a few non-UK bits of literature, though. Perhaps I should just realign my read strategy to reduce my total marketing-speak see.
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:24 PM on October 13, 2006


If I were to buy an iPod (and I'm not going to) I'd be quite irritated that the only way I could incidentally get $10 out of Apple for charidee was by ostentatiously parading my bleeding heart credentials. Some of us would prefer to be on level 3 rather than level 4 (if we pretend for the sake of argument that it'd be my money.)
posted by Luddite at 5:28 PM on October 13, 2006


Make friends with it on mySpace.

I will join and I'm sure it has absolutely noting to do with me being an attention whore.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:59 PM on October 13, 2006


wow, i'd never heard of tzedakah. fascinating. thanks, luddite.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:03 PM on October 13, 2006


wow, i'd never heard of tzedakah. fascinating. thanks, luddite.

Me too, thanks.
posted by scottreynen at 7:32 PM on October 13, 2006


Somebody must be buying (into) it. I checked gap.com this morning when I heard about this, and just checked it again. Several styles of shirts have already disappeared from the product listing -- out of stock already?
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 8:37 PM on October 13, 2006


Here's an idea:

Most people don't really need the 4GB. 1,000 songs is around 100 CDs, which is really more CDs than you need to have on a small player at any one time (sure, you may have more songs in iTunes, but you can always swap 'em in and out, right?)

So, buy the 2GB, and now you have $50 left to give to the charity of your choice, maybe even one that is more in tune with your beliefs about where money should be put.

As far as whether these corporations should be doing this or not, I'm of two minds. On the one hand, people are going to buy these products anyway, corporations are going to push consumerism, and behavior likely to lead to real change (i.e. reducing spending, buying from local/small suppliers, really ecologically conscious products, etc) is just not going to happen. So, if people are going to consume, their consumption might at least have a positive effect.

On the other hand, the charity aspect serves to legitimizes consumerism. It sugercoats the negative effects that the products themselves may have. The (RED) initiative makes it easy to see the positive effects (assuming that 100% of the funds gathered are used effectively and don't cause problems in their use, such as dependency, negative changes to social structures, building up of a development industry instead of empowerment/change). However, the negative effects of everyday products are largely hidden. Are the (RED) Gap shirts made with sweatshop labor? Are the companies that supply the cotton fabric underselling African exporters, leading to a shutdown in industry in already poor countries in Africa? Will the (RED) AMEX card snare another generation of youth into future debt (and how will this debt affect that person's ability to give to charities in need of funds--maybe by more than $10!).

Another concern I have is that this brands charity, relief, and development. And that's a *Bad Thing*. Events like the Tsunami of December 2004, Katrina, and diseases like Breast Cancer and AIDS have become charity sinkholes, drawing attention and funds away from the less-sexier but more deadly problems like starvation, diarrhea (which kills 136,000 people a month), and malaria. The practice of child sponsorship, while often necessary to get people interested in giving money, requires significant overhead, such as keeping track of the "sponsor's" child, taking regular photographs and getting the child to write to the sponsor. Don't get me started with the highly problematic concept of ownership which this kind of sponsorship implies.

For a highly insightful look at the problems with the development industry I recommend Despite Good Intentions by Thomas Dichter. Very readable and very sobering.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:35 PM on October 13, 2006 [2 favorites]


shownomercy: How bout let's not give medicine to africans with the aids virus until we have some proof that hte aids virus causes death?

OMG, there are still AIDS deniers, and they are on MeFi?

Is no one else going to call bullshit? If you seriously believe HIV does not cause AIDS and lead to death, why don't you go infect yourself, schmuck? There's a few million Africans who'd probably be willing to assist you.

Look, the idea is to make doing *something* about AIDS in Africa a fashionable and hot topic here, not just to raise $10 per iPod. If a few million kids decided Bono was way cooler than, say, one of the celebrity twits of the Lohan variety, and that it was hip to give a shit and do something about poverty and war and disease, it would be a better world. Cynicism is often appropriate, but save it for the true hypocrites, please.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:43 AM on October 14, 2006


Mmmmm… Pepsi (RED).
posted by designbot at 7:40 AM on October 14, 2006


eustacescrubb is right - lets scrubb over real solutions with simple paper-over ones!!

I'm waiting to hear/read what your real solution is, and when it will be implemented, and how your organization works, and where it gets its funding, and what the oversight is on it.

Link anytime.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:21 PM on October 14, 2006


What I think is being overlooked here is the matter of OMG, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO OPRAH'S FACE????
posted by Jesse H Christ at 4:23 PM on October 14, 2006


Raining Florence nailed it.
It's not about buying a red iPod to donate $10 to fight AIDS. It's about buying a red iPod, if you are going to buy one anyway, so that $10 of it goes to charity. And yes, to make a statement. When Apple puts up a RED on it's front page, millions of people are listening. That's all there is to it. When someone enquires, "hey, what's that new red iPod", you pass on the info and gain karma.

Does that mean some people will buy a red iPod just to be ultra-cool? Yes. But these same "some people" will keep buying products anyway. Why scrap the concept just because it can be misused by some?

Any charity concept that has so much of branding and ultra-hipness attached to it's consumerist waist is going to be riled by some people no matter what. But I'd prefer that some million youths of our generation rather swoon over Bono, and buy a red ipod with a red amex card and think that it's hip to do some shit about poverty and AIDS and etc..rather than trying to live "The Simple Life".
posted by forwebsites at 5:07 PM on October 14, 2006


Yeah. Raining Florence is right.

I've had enough of the cynicism bemoaning the corporate-ness/culture-of-celebrity of this or that charity. It's simply ANOTHER form of hipper-than-thou bullshit. And even more useless.

The fact is Jobs, Bono, and Oprah don't HAVE to do shit. They could be content to live a quiet simple little life of riding their polo ponies into their swimming pools filled with Dom Perignon. Only to climb out on to mink towels and to then refresh themselves with a sniff of sifted pink cocaine off the delectable ass-cracks of supermodels.

Jobs could sell a billion MORE iPods by putting a cool black on red silk-screen of Madonna tits on an iPod— if his only goal is to only make zillions as some cynically claim.

For fuck sake. Why do YOU give to charity. Can we impugn YOUR motives. Give me couple hours cross examining your sub-basement psyche and then I can declare all your supposed "good" motives in life are really a mask that cover your hidden desires for more attention from your mommy. Or some such psycho-babble.

So fucking what?

That fact is there is work to be done in this world.

And since we are not Borg or ants, this work is largely done by individuals who all have their own agendas. Their own egos. Their won boners to stroke. JUST LIKE YOU.

But the work needs to be done none-the-less, does it not?

And those best able to do the work of the world are those with the greatest reach in resources. Quell surprise when you find out that in this world of individuals those with the most are often the most self-centered. Golly. No shit.

Those are the types that are the most driven to accumulate wealth. That ANY of them are then driven to give back to use peons should be applauded. Not scorned you (cynics) childish dipshits.

That is what rich people are supposed to be for, right? So tell them what they want to hear. Good reich person. Good.

Because the fact is they are saving a fuck-load more lives than you are by BITCHING about it on the internet.

Let's make a deal. When you (cynics) send a South African township to college or give millions of your dollars to the worlds poor or needy THEN you can bitch. Otherwise shut the fuck up.
posted by tkchrist at 5:54 PM on October 14, 2006


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