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Monday, March 05, 2007

Conscious Consumption: (Product)Red Results Redux

Ad Age says, "the tally raised worldwide is $18 million."


The disproportionate ratio between the marketing outlay and the money raised is drawing concern among nonprofit watchdogs, cause-marketing experts and even executives in the ad business. It threatens 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.

By any measure, the buzz has been extraordinary and the collective marketing outlay by Gap, Apple and Motorola has been enormous, with some estimates as high as $100 million. Gap alone spent $7.8 million of its $58 million outlay on Red during last year's fourth quarter, according to Nielsen Media Research's Nielsen Adviews.

"Red has done as much as we could have hoped for in the short time it has been up and running," says Rajesh Anandan, the Global Fund's head of private-sector partnerships, adding: "The launch cost of this kind of campaign is going to be hugely frontloaded. It's a very costly exercise."

Julie Cordua, VP-marketing at Red and a former Motorola marketing exec and director-buzz marketing at Helio, said the outlay by the program's partners must be understood within the context of the campaign's goal: sustainability. "It's not a charity program of them writing a one-time check. It has to make good business sense for the company so the money will continue to flow to the Global Fund over time." She added that since many of Red's partners haven't closed their books yet on 2006, more funds likely will be added to the $18 million.

AKI COMMENT: Despite the hatitude, Bono recently accepted his Honorary Soul Brotha Award from the NAACP. Below is his strangely moving and inspiring speech. The man just may be untouchable, ya'll.


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