(RED), stylized as (PRODUCT)RED, is a licensed brand that seeks to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in eight African countries. It is licensed to partner companies including Nike, American Express (UK), Apple Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks, Converse, Electronic Arts, Head, Buckaroo, Penguin Classics (UK & International), Gap, Armani, Hallmark (US), SAP, Beats Electronics, and Supercell. The concept was founded in 2006 by U2 frontman and activist Bono, together with Bobby Shriver of the ONE Campaign and DATA. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a recipient of Product Red's money.
As part of a new business model, each partner company creates a product with the Product Red logo. In return for the opportunity to increase revenue through the Product Red license, up to 50% of profits gained by each partner is donated to the Global Fund. As Product Red is owned by Red, a portion of the contributions received from the partner brands is assigned as profit. Such an amalgamation of humanitarian aid and for-profit businesses is one example of "ethical consumerism".
Created in 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria supports large-scale prevention, treatment and care programs for these three infectious diseases. Today, a quarter of all international funding for HIV/AIDS-related programs, over half for tuberculosis, and almost three-quarters for malaria worldwide comes from the Global Fund. The concept of "performance-based funding" is central to the organization and only those grant recipients who can demonstrate measurable and effective results from the monies received will be able to receive continued financing. One hundred percent of the funds generated by Red partners and events goes to Global Fund programs that provide medical care and support services for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. No overhead is taken by either Red or the Global Fund. Red is the largest private sector donor to the Global Fund, and has generated over $500 million for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa as of late 2017. In November 2013, Jony Ive and Marc Newson hosted an auction at Sotheby's to raise millions for the fund. The event was attended by major celebrities including Bono, The Edge, Hayden Panettiere, and Courtney Love.
Product Red has been criticized for not having an effect proportional to the advertising investment, for being much less efficient than direct charitable contribution, and for having a lack of transparency with regards to the amount of money going to charity as a percentage of every purchase. Some critics argue that a retail middleman between donor and charity is unnecessary; donors should just give. For example, some argued that Gap's website encouraged consumption of the products, thus, encouraging companies to use the product for publicity, rather than social responsibility. While Product Red has helped give funds and attention to the problem, it does not form a relationship between the donors and recipients. Scholars argue that this sacrifices the purpose of movements such as Product Red. Jessica Wirgau, a professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute stated that, "Red not only misses the opportunity to promote civic engagement with its audience but also.... gives corporations the power to decide which causes should be supported and to what degree". Another critique is that Product Red's expansion into traditional fundraising techniques, such as art auctions, undermines its claim to be a different and more sustainable approach to raising money for AIDS. Other critics have pointed out that its emphasis on funding treatment for AIDS sufferers meant that large amounts of the money will ultimately end up with pharmaceutical companies "unwilling to distribute their drugs for free". Many accuse the campaign of profiting by using diseases as a marketing vehicle, for being "cause branding" rather than corporate social responsibility. In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Mark Rosenman wrote that it was an "example of the corporate world aligning its operations with its central purpose of increasing shareholder profit, except this time it is being cloaked in the patina of philanthropy."
The National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights criticized Product Red for its links with Gap, which was historically a target of anti-sweatshop activists, although anti-sweatshop organization Labour Behind the Label states that Gap has "come further than many" clothing companies to counter exploitation. Gap's Product Red clothes are made in Lesotho rather than China, going beyond the requirements of Product Red. Labour Behind the Label criticized Product Red for not requiring more measures to protect the rights of the workers who make their products.
Data released in 2007 by Advertising Age claimed retail participants in Product Red including Gap, Motorola and Apple had invested $100 million in advertising and raised only $18 million for The Global Fund. In July 2010, however, Red claimed to have raised over $150 million.
In an attempt to combat the critics, particularly regarding Product Red's Transparency, around 2008, they implemented a calculator to show consumers how many doses of treatment would be received with the purchase of a Red Product. With this, some have stated that, "the campaign offers the illusion of activism without requiring behavioral changes or political engagement". While this critic shows that there are negative aspects of this program, he also states that "it finds a way to generate something positive out of the currently existent system".
|Launch Date||Product Type||Partner||Product Name||Description||Amount donated to Global Fund (US$)||Suggested retail price (US$)|
|January 26, 2006||Launch||WEF||Announcement||Product Red initiative first announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Global Fund identifies Rwanda as the first country to receive funding from (Product) Red.|
|March 1, 2006||Credit Card||American Express||American Express Red||American Express Red Card launched in the UK. Only UK residents with UK bank accounts are eligible.||1% of total spend. Up to 1.25% after spend over £5,000.||No annual fee for life. Typical 16.9% APR variable.|
|March 15, 2006||Clothing||Gap||Gap Red||Launch party in London for the Gap line with 22 page feature in the April issue of Dazed & Confused magazine.||50% of profits from sales of Product Red items|
|April 3, 2006||Fashion accessory||Giorgio Armani||Emporio Armani sunglasses||Metal wrap-around sunglasses (style EA 9285/S) launched worldwide. Available in green, rose, blue, smoke grey, grey and brown, all embossed with the Emporio Armani Red logo. The forked frame arms, available in shades of ruthenium, gunmetal and light gold, are superimposed on the single lenses.||40% of gross profit margin from sales of all Emporio Armani Red products directly to the Global Fund.|
|April 3, 2006||Shoes||Converse||Mudcloth shoes||Converse Product Red limited edition Mudcloth trainers, designed by Giles Deacon, are available in the UK and US.||5 - 15% of net wholesale price||Starting from $60|
|May 15, 2006||Mobile phone||Motorola||Red Motorola SLVR||Red Motorola SLVR L7 launches in the UK||£10 & 5% of every bill||$249.99|
|May 15, 2006||Newspaper||The Independent|
|August 2006||Fashion watches||Giorgio Armani||Emporio Armani watch||Giorgio Armani's second Red product is an Emporio Armani unisex watch (style AR0537/AR0538). It features a large 43 mm stainless steel case with a coin-ridged bezel, a leather strap available in black with red contrast stitching, or vice versa, and steel rivets that secure the strap to the case. The large digital dial displays the time in oversized numerals and has calendar, chronograph and timer features with push button controls on the side of the case. The dial also features the Emporio Armani Red logo at 12 o'clock printed onto the dial's outer ring.||40% of gross profit margin (see sunglasses)||$225|
|September 21, 2006||Newspaper||The Independent||The Independent printed its second Product Red special edition, guest-designed by Giorgio Armani. This Red edition includes articles from a host of public figures and celebrities including George Clooney, Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio and Beyoncé. The newspaper's daily features section, Extra, is a 36-page magazine for the day and each paper comes with a free Kate Moss poster. All revenue from online sales will be donated to help fight AIDS in Africa.||All revenue from online sales.|
|October 13, 2006||MP3 player||Apple Inc.||iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Red iPod nano which is only available at the Apple Store and the Apple Store website.||$10||$199-$249|
|November 2006||Mobile phone||Motorola||Red Motorola RAZR||US Cellular launches the Red Motorola RAZR in the United States||$17||$259.99|
|December 5, 2006||Song||The Killers (Band)||"A Great Big Sled"||The popular indie rock band The Killers release their first annual Christmas single in support of the red campaign. Their singles were combined into the album Don't Waste Your Wishes in 2016.||$1.29|
|January 9, 2007||Stored-value card||Apple Inc.||iTunes (PRODUCT)RED Gift Card||Gift card for purchases at Apple's iTunes online store, for movies, TV shows or music. Currently only available in the US at Apple's online store.||10% ($2.50)||$25|
|June 2007||Magazine||Vanity Fair||Bono edits the issue of the magazine, title "The Africa Issue", which features a wide array of celebrities dedicated to issues in Africa (including Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Bono, Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Brad Pitt, Djimon Hounsou, Madonna, Maya Angelou, Chris Rock, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Iman Abdulmajid, and Don Cheadle.) on a total of twenty different covers.||$5 of every subscription to Vanity Fair sold.|
|September 7, 2007||MP3 player||Apple Inc.||iPod nano, iPod shuffle (Product) Red Special Edition||Red iPod nano was available with the 1GB and 2GB iPod Shuffle, and the 8GB and 16GB iPod nano. They were only available at the Apple Store, and Apple Store website.||$10 (Nano)||shuffle $49(1GB), $69(2GB); nano $149(8GB), $199(16GB)|
|January 24, 2008||Computers/Operating system||Dell Inc. + Microsoft Corporation||XPS One, XPS 1330, XPS 1530, and AIO 948 Printer (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition; All computers include Windows Vista Ultimate Red||Red is available with the XPS One (80 dollar donation), XPS 1330 (50 dollar donation), XPS 1530 (50 dollar donation), and the AIO 948 (5 dollar donation)||80.00, 50.00, or 5.00||XPS One starting at $1599, XPS 1330 and XPS 1530 starting at $1,149 and AIO 948 starting at $99|
|November 11, 2008||MP3 player||Apple Inc.||iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announces new iPod nano 4th generation (PRODUCT)RED||N/A||$149 for an 8GB capacity, $199 for 16GB version|
|November 27, 2008||Beverages||Starbucks||(STARBUCKS)RED Exclusive beverages||RED exclusive beverages consisted of Starbucks holiday beverage options including Peppermint Mocha Twist, Gingersnap Latte, and Espresso Truffle||$0.05 from every (STARBUCKS)RED Exclusive beverage sold through January 9, 2009.|
|November 30, 2009||Shoelaces||Nike||(NIKE)RED laces||Red shoelaces with the slogan "Lace Up. Save Lives." Sponsored by footballers Didier Drogba (Chelsea F.C.), Joe Cole (Liverpool F.C.), Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal F.C.), Denílson (Arsenal F.C.), Marco Materazzi (Inter Milan), Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Clint Dempsey (Fulham F.C.) and Seol Ki-Hyeon (Fulham F.C.)||100%||$4/pair|
|May 20, 2010||Books||Penguin Books||Penguin Classics Red||Penguin Classics published a set of eight classic novels: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola.||50% of profits||£6.99/£7.99 a book.|
|December 7, 2011||MP3 player||Apple Inc.||iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announced an iPod nano 6th generation (PRODUCT)RED, available only through Apple's website or an official Apple Store.||$13.20||$129 for an 8GB capacity, $149 for 16GB version|
|December 7, 2011||iPad Smart Cover||Apple Inc.||iPad Smart Cover (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announced the Red Leather iPad Smart cover was to be a part of Product Red.||$4.80||$69.00|
|August 14, 2012||iPhone Bumper||Apple Inc.||iPhone Bumper (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announced the Red iPhone Bumper was to be a part of Product Red.||$2||$29.00|
|September 1, 2012||Alcohol||Belvedere (vodka)||Limited Edition (PRODUCT)RED Bottle||50% of profits||$35.00|
|September 12, 2012||MP3 player||Apple Inc.||iPod shuffle (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||2 GB iPod Shuffle exclusive to the Apple Store and Apple Store website.||$4.80||$49|
|October 15, 2012||MP3 player||Apple Inc.||iPod Touch (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announces an iPod Touch 5th generation (PRODUCT)RED available only through Apple's website or an official Apple Store.||$13.20 (64 GB)||$399 for 64 GB model (launch), $299 for 64 GB model (current)|
|February 2014||Card reader||Square, Inc.||SQUA(RED) Reader||Square releases a special edition card reader, available on the Square website.||$9.72||$10|
|2014||Guitar||Gretsch||(Gretsch)Red Bono Edition Electromatic Guitar||Bono signature edition of the Gretsch G5623.||5% profit||£769|
|November 18, 2016||Album||The Killers||"Don't Waste Your Wishes"||The Killers released a compilation of their annual Christmas singles featuring; Elton John, Neil Tennant, Dawes, Ryan Pardey, Toni Halliday, and Jimmy Kimmel.||$10.99|
|March 24, 2017||Mobile phone||Apple Inc.||iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announces the Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, available through Apple's website, Apple Stores, and other mobile carriers and retailers that carry the iPhone.||N/A||$749 for 128GB (7), $849 for 256GB, (7), $869 for 128GB (7 Plus), $969 for 256GB (7 Plus)|
|April 9, 2018||Mobile phone||Apple Inc.||iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announces the Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, available through Apple's website, Apple Stores, and other mobile carriers and retailers that carry the iPhone.||N/A||$699/£699 for 64GB (8), $849/£849 for 256GB (8), $799/£799 for 64GB (8 Plus), $949/£949 for 256GB (8 Plus)|
|September 12, 2018||Mobile phone||Apple Inc.||iPhone XR (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announces new iPhone XR (PRODUCT)RED||N/A||$749 for 64GB, $799 for 128GB, $899 for 256GB|
|September 10, 2019||Mobile phone||Apple Inc.||iPhone 11 (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition||Apple announces new iPhone 11 (PRODUCT)RED||N/A||$699 for 64GB, $749 for 128GB, $849 for 256GB|