RED is the new pink

My cousin Sarah used some Christmas money to buy herself a new iPod Nano. She was relating to me how she chose the all-important feature: color. Her younger sister has a pink one, so that’s ruled out. Her older sister has yellow, so that’s out too. And “the purple is just ugly”. She ended up buying the red Nano. What struck me as most interesting was her final comment on the subject: “Plus, then I helped people with AIDS”.

A convenient afterthought, yes? The PRODUCT (RED) website outlines just how consumers like Sarah help save lives in Africa. I actually found the website quite interesting. Using the “Impact Calculator” I learned that Sarah’s purchase would contribute to the cost of medicine for an individual with HIV to last three weeks and two days. Sweet, Sarah FTW!

The PRODUCT (RED) Campaign is most successful in its ability to capitalize on consumer convenience. Sarah would have bought an iPod anyway; in fact, by her logic, she would have bought a red iPod anyway. (RED) products are no more expensive than products of any other color, per se. By simply going about their shopping business, the (RED) campaign has made it possible for otherwise detached consumers to support the Global Fund. Because, let’s face it, Sarah may be a bighearted girl, but she probably wouldn’t just donate money to the Global Fund without PRODUCT (RED) facilitation.

So, is consumption the solution to global problems like AIDS? I think I’ll go ponder it at Starbucks.

-lb

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~ by Lindsay Bembenek on December 31, 2009.

2 Responses to “RED is the new pink”

  1. Cool blog guys! This post reminded me of TOMS shoes, which is another company doing something similar to the (RED) Campaign. For every pair of their shoes you purchase, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to children around the world in hopes of reducing the incidence of preventative diseases transmitted through cuts and the exposure of bare feet. One of TOMS’ goals is to foster a new type of consumerism where the focus is no longer solely on personal gain. To me, it seems like a refreshing type of corporate responsibility where companies allow their consumers the opportunity to support a cause. It would be just as easy for the companies to pocket all of the profits from the purchases of “detached consumers”, but the idea that that expenditure can travel past corporate profits and into a cause like providing shoes or AIDS treatments is positive way to tweak our consumerism culture.

  2. Thanks for the kudos, Alison! And I agree, TOMS is another good example of seeing the opportunities globalization presents in business. The difference that really interests me about TOMS is that they have created their own brand rather than relying on Apple or Starbucks. iPod attracts business from consumers like Sarah who would have purchased their product regardless of the cause. TOMS, on the other hand, attracts an audience that knows and actively supports its goals because its cause is key to the brand.

    -lb

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