'Ad Age' readers weigh in on the Red campaign

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My head's wrapped around the media all day, and I never really heard much about the campaign. In fact I totally forgot about it until now.

I think the comments by the nonprofit [watchdogs] overlook the fact that consumers are going to buy "an overpriced item they don't really need" anyway. At least this is a way for the charity to benefit.

Let me get this straight. We are criticizing a campaign that generated a great deal of free awareness for Red and gave the Red campaign $18 million. Are we not setting our standards a bit high when free awareness and a charitable donation of $18 million is not enough?

The article, like most of the comments, missed the point. Red was not designed to replace charitable giving. It was designed to bring a new stream of money to the Global Fund. Bobby Shriver and Bono and their team have accurately found that most people believe in causes but do nothing. If you can make people give, it is a one-time thing. The Red idea is designed to create a sustainable revenue stream.

The products were outrageously overpriced. I would rather give my money straight to the cause than spend $50 for a T-shirt. Nice try. But next time take a real-world approach and make quality products at an affordable price.

Donating directly to the cause always has a much better impact!

High-minded as Red may have seen itself, I think consumers saw through the "raising awareness" ploy. After all, "awareness raising" seems to be all about a consumer experience, whether it is buying a pair of jeans or walking the Avon Three-Day Walk Against Breast Cancer. People are finding out that very little of the money they spend is actually seeing its way to the charity, and they are getting hip to the fact that this may be just a high-minded appeal to conspicuous consumption.

Shame on all of you for being so cynical. People are not going to give all their money to the cause. Otherwise they would be doing it already. This is an attempt to get people involved in donating to a really good cause. So get off of your soapboxes, because I am sure that all of you have stopped buying luxury items in lieu of donating to the AIDS fund. That $18 million is $18 million more than they started with.

I don't shop at Gap or Motorola. Thus, I cannot participate? I guess my money is no good if I'm not deemed urban and hip. If you're not in the market for conspicuous name-brand crap, then you are completely left out, apparently. Not to mention it simply looks too much like Target ads.

The Red campaign is just getting off the ground and will be hugely successful.

This is a long-term project, and now that the heavy lifting has been accomplished and the start-up costs paid, it'll be interesting to see how much money is raised. In my opinion, Bono and his partners have laid a pretty solid foundation on which to build.

What on earth is philanthropic about a dying brand like Gap donating half the profit on a line of cheap T-shirts? That's not philanthropy; that's a desperate marketing campaign designed to get young people back into their stores.
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