CASE ASSIGNMENT: Product (RED)
Can a T-shirt Save the World?
When Oprah and Bono walked down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile together in the fall of 2006, it was the shopping trip seen around the world. The famous duo attracted mobs of fans and extensive media coverage as they promoted a revolutionary new cause-marketing event called Product (RED). Bono urged people to buy (RED) products, explaining that a portion of the proceeds would go to The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Oprah, wearing an “INSPI(RED)” Gap t-shirt on her talk show that day, proclaimed, “I am wearing the most important t-shirt I’ve ever worn in my life!” Other companies that licensed the (RED) brand and created products for the charity included Apple, which sold a limited edition iPod Nano, and Motorola, which introduced a red Motorazr phone. Emporio Armani designed a special (RED) capsule collection for London Fashion Week, and Converse designed a line of (RED) shoes to be sold at Gap stores. Oprah’s shopping spree with Bono drew a reported one billion media impressions worldwide. Product (RED) set up its own Web site, www.joinred.com, and took over Myspace.com for the day to launch a page that now boasts over 600,000 friends. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) funneled news about (RED) to mobile phones and blog sites, and it quickly became a hot topic of discussion on message boards across the Internet. Product (RED) was the brainchild of Bono and Bobby Shriver, who designed it as a commercial initiative that could change the way causes are marketed in the future. “They didn’t want a one-time event,” says Julia Cordua, VP of marketing. “They want five to ten years of ongoing donations.” Gap initially offered to give 100 percent of its profits to the cause, but Bono and Shriver refused to accept more than 50 percent. Shriver insists that they want companies to make money off the campaign, explaining, “We want people buying houses in the Hamptons based on this because if...
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