Engaging Culture

(RED) Isn’t Doing so Well

You’ve probably seen the (RED) campaign, led by celebrities like Bono, Oprah, and others, plus the huge number of retail outlets that support the cause. But despite having big names, the (RED) campaign has been turned out to be pretty much a failure. According web reports, despite having blown close to $100 million in advertising, marketing and branding, (RED) has only raised $18 million in funds for Africa.

It’s an interesting tale of a great idea gone wrong. My question isn’t about the fact that they’ve raised “only” $18 million, but what were they doing SPENDING $100 million to do it? Isn’t cause marketing about getting people to give? Where’s the donated media buys, the donated creative, or the donated strategy?

Certainly you have to pay for some stuff, but even at the worst case, I’m hoping the minds behind it and the vendors who made it happen AT MOST only charged their cost. $100 million? Sounds embarrassing to me…

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  1. Hey Phil,

    Something feels a bit off regarding this… If true, I'm as embarrassed for them as you are. However, there's this on the (Red) site: "To date, of the $45.5 million received by the Global Fund from the sale of (RED) products, $30.7 million has flowed directly to Global Fund financed grants in Ghana, Rwanda and Swaziland." Big difference between $45.5 million and $18 mil.


    Also, this note at the end of a similar post: "[Correction: Consulting company in charge of (RED) contacted me to let me know that this was erroneous info. Apologies for the mistake. Guess you can't trust everything you read on the internet…. AM]" http://www.styledash.com/2007/04/19/bad-news-about-red/


    Something just doesn't feel right…








  2. Very interesting indeed.  Sometimes the results are "adjusted" for expenses in these things, so I'll look into it further.  Thanks for the tip Russ.  If any other readers know anything about the campaign, let us know.  I think it's quite a brilliant idea, which is why I'm so surprised if these numbers are true.

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