1. Do you think a partnership with Product (RED) can improve Gap’s image? Is it a sign that they are making a commitment to corporate social responsibility or do you agree with critics who say their involvement is an attempt to spit-shine the company’s image while continuing to do business as usual?
Answers will vary about Product (RED)’s ability to improve Gap’s image as a socially responsible company. Despite critics and bloggers who have decried the partnership with Bono’s cause as hypocritical and have denounced the donations as trivial in comparison to the profits made by the company, the general public is probably less likely to see it in a negative light. Anything that Oprah Winfrey puts her stamp of approval on is generally accepted as a good thing, which includes cause-marketing events such as this one. The fact that the Product (RED) t-shirt that Oprah wore on her show became the bestselling item in Gap history is a sign that shoppers were enthusiastic enough about the partnership to open their wallets for it.
2. Describe the various types of technology that have contributed to the media coverage, marketing efforts, and public discussion of the (RED) campaign.
The October 2006 launch of Product (RED) received extensive television coverage. Oprah’s daytime talk show devoted an hour to the topic and her shopping trip with Bono received a reported one billion media impressions. Beyond television news and entertainment programs, however, (RED) became a hot topic of discussion on the Internet with numerous bloggers weighing in on the pros and cons of the fundraiser and the companies participating in it. (RED) president Tamsin Smith herself blogged that Gap’s (RED) shelves were empty within hours after Oprah and Bono visited the Chicago store. (RED) marketers were able to not only blog about the campaign but read what was being written about it on other blogs and message boards. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) enabled...