Friday, August 01, 2008

Get out of the way, Bono, and leave Africa alone...


To get Bono to retire from public life (so he'll stop leading misguided counter-productive philanthropy efforts) ....and, simultaneously.... to make a huge donation to fight AIDS.


Bono’s philanthropy efforts are self-righteous, ineffective, & counter-productive.

The RED campaign has managed to spend $40 million more on marketing that it has raised from RED product sales, while sending consumers a dangerous message. Read more

Many involved in the global fight against AIDS worry that RED will make it harder to raise funds, and that the oversimplified & disempowered image of Africa that Bono perpetuates. , as exemplified in these incredibly condescending lyrics from the Band Aid Xmas song Bono helped create, obscures and undermines the assets African nations must focus on to defeat AIDS and poverty.

The grassroots leaders of the global fight against AIDS didn’t ask for Bono to be their frontman. Its time for Bono to step down. 

The Pledge...

1 comment:

  1. Someone at (RED) responded to this on the original site:

    "This petition is full of misstatements about (RED) that the simplest Google search would uncover. (RED) has raised more than $109 million for the Global Fund in just two years – ALL of this money goes to AIDS programs in Africa, with NO overhead (or advertising money) taken out.
    This money is funding AIDS programs in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda and Swaziland that have already helped put more than 80,000 people on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and helped provide 369,000 pregnant women with counseling and services to reduce the risk of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV...
    First, I want to state that the $100M figure you mention and the basic premise of your argument about the allocation of corporate marketing dollars are wrong.
    (RED) has not spent any money on advertising. (RED) gets the corporations to spend a portion of their EXISTING marketing budgets on promoting (RED) products. In response to the notion of why companies don't just donate their marketing budgets, the simple fact is that corporations are not in the business of donating marketing budgets. They are in the business of creating products, marketing them and delivering value for their shareholders. (RED) intersects that process and convinces them to channel some of this power to raise funds to buy AIDS medicine for people who otherwise couldn't afford them. If these companies weren't advertising (RED) products, they'd be advertising regular products that don't generate money for the emergency of AIDS in Africa AND they definitely would not be donating those budgets.
    The only part of a corporation that is the business of 'donating' is generally the corporate foundation. We purposefully do not go through the foundations for this partnership. We engage the business sectors because our goal is to create a sustainable flow of dollars to the fund, not a one-time handout. This goes back to basics of "WHY" (RED) was formed. (RED) was designed to create a SUSTAINABLE flow of private sector dollars to the Global Fund ( The Global Fund was created in 2002 and designed to be a public/private partnership i.e. to get money from governments and business. However, it is first four years it had raised $50B from government and just $5M from business (by approaching corporate foundations for support). We needed a new way to engage business in helping to address one of the worst healthcare crisis of our times. So, (RED) was created – with the basic concept of engaging business in a way that made good business sense and creating this sustainable flow of dollars for the Global Fund.
    As for the money raised, over $60 million has been raised through the sale of (PRODUCT) RED goods and over $40 million was raised through the (RED) Sotheby's auction. 260 million media impressions were also garnered through the publicity around the (RED) Auction and the fact that it was raising money to buy drugs that cost 40 cents per day for people who can't afford that amount to stay alive. We are in the business of raising money and awareness and it seems to make sense to do both at the same time when we can. The auction would not have been possible if the (RED) brand did not exist. It was because of the brand awareness and the excitement around it in the marketplace that many of these artists were willing to participate and one of the reasons why there was so much support to produce an event of that magnitude. All of these things work hand in hand and help build momentum that will raise even more money over time. And, as (RED) grows and matures, you will see our model continue to do more new things that surprise and, at the end of the day, raises the most money possible for the Global Fund to help finance AIDS programs in Africa.
    At the end of the day, (RED) is just one way for people to get involved. It does not replace charity, volunteerism, government participation and other avenues to help. It is all of these things working together that will help address the greatest social issues of our time – not each thing working separately and in isolation."

    It's more than a little dishonest of Aaron to not update his spiel to say that he's been corrected - (RED) hasn't spent any money of advertising, it's partners who advertise their products anyway that have spent a normal share of their ad spends proportionally on (RED) computers/skateboards/shoes, etc.