Seeing (RED)

So I was over reading Michael Medved at Townhall on this new star studded (RED) Campaign. Here is the jist.

The concept behind this new effort, launched by rock star/activist Bono and Schwarzenegger brother-in-law Bobby Shriver, is to get major companies (including The Gap, Motorola, American Express, and more) to make special products available with the (RED) designation (for some reason the word always appears in parentheses in its official deployments. The corporations then devote advertising resources to make the specially branded (RED) merchandise look stylish, desirable, hip, and socially conscious. They also pledge a portion of their profits from sale of these products to the relief of African AIDS patients.

Now you notice that the pledge is only for a portion of the profits or of the increased prices. Here are some examples:

For instance, Gap jeans normally priced at just under $50 are now sold as signature (RED) pants for $198. The Gap promises to donate 50% of their proceeds to AIDS relief – so that still means that the company is taking an extra $50 bucks (not for charity, just for profit) from gullible people who choose to buy the jeans. A Gap long-sleeved t-shirt that last week cost $14.50, now goes for $45…. Meaning that the company still gets an extra $8 of your money on an absurdly over-priced piece of cloth, even after giving their share to charity.

So is this the great plan? I agree with Medved that you should buy the normal cheap stuff and donate the difference. But then people won’t “know” that you donated. But isn’t that the point of charity? To do something for selfless reasons and not for a status symbol? And, is it just me or are these companies just appling rapacious tactics in an already tragic situation? I have half a mind to avoid these companies all together (if I were a boycotter to being with). How about just donating the money to the cause, be you company or individual? I think the idea of collecting money to go straight to the treament of AIDS is a noble idea but the implementation can bring less than favorable results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *