(RED) has been a frequent topic in this forum so I won't bore you with a rehash (read my previous (RED) posts here, here, here, here, here and here (gee, I guess I did write a lot about it.)). But here are my thoughts on the latest (RED) press.
- Will American embrace (RED)? It's been reported--by a Frenchman, no doubt--that Americans care less about Africa than Europeans do. Americans don't care any more or less for Africa than they do any other international cause. (RED)'s success here will hinge on its ability to (1) be the "cool" charity and (distant 2) to create urgency. With Bono at the helm, the former will be easier than the latter.
- "Don't lead with guilt." That's what early proponents of (RED) argued. Halleluiah. There's nothing wrong with being edgy, cool, sexy or self-serving. I've been saying this for years. But when Bono speaks people listen. Go figure. Must put the whole rock star thing on my to-do list.
- Bill Gates is bent on world domination. This was the first I read that the Gates Foundation provided seed money for the development of (RED). Now I see Gates' plan. Start in Africa, unite the people and their respective countries, conquer Europe, Asia and America. Hey, I've been there. But I did it in one afternoon playing Risk.
- Bono and Gates get all the credit. Because the world's richest man and the biggest rock star are behind (RED), people are talking like they are the Al Gore of cause marketing. Of course, they didn't create cause marketing. I did. But prophets are often spurned. Yeah, I'm talking to you mom.
- It's cause marketing, stupid. Stop comparing (RED) to Newman's Own. (This is just another sneaky way of stealing the credit from me.). Newman's Own is "venture philanthropy" (i.e. a nonprofit starting its own for profit business.). Cause marketing is a partnership between a nonprofit ((RED)) and a for profit (Converse, Motorola, GAP, etc.) for mutal profit. (RED) isn't going into business, it's working with businesses. Big difference. I should know (see previous point).
- Companies will have to promote their (RED) products. I know, really new concept here. But businesses originally thought that (RED) PR would save them a ton on advertising and justify to shareholders the kickback to Africa. Did anyone really think that selling (RED) to consumers was going to be that easy?
Of course, (RED) has gotten some great PR....Thanks to me.