Red Campaign Tanks Bringing in Just $18 Million
Oops. That feel good Red campaign isn't working out after all. It seems it took up to an estimated $100 million to bring in $18 million for the charity effort. Not exactly the best ROI for a campaign of any kind. Groups such as Buy Less Crap which we wrote about here have derided the campaign claiming it's stupid to make people spend money to buy stuff when they could just give directly to charity far more efficiently. It's true. While many businesses may need a middle man to function properly, charity is most certainly not one of them.
The star studded campaign which was fronted by Steven Spielberg, Bono, Christy Turlingon, Chris Rock, Oprah Winfrey and others seems to have been a flop. Global Fund Private Sector Head Rajesh Anandan defended the campaign telling Advertising Age, "Red has done as much as we could have hoped for in the short time it has been up and running. The launch cost of this kind of campaign is going to be hugely front loaded. It's a very costly exercise."
Not many people are buying that line of thinking. A comment from Adrants reader, Hugh, to our piece on Buy Less Crap is representative of the sentiment. "It's like a bunch of celebritards got together and said, 'How can we look like we care, without actually doing anything other that what we normally do, i.e pose with shit?' And then some agency thought, 'How can WE look like WE care, without actually doing anything other than what we normally do, i.e. take pictures of people posing with shit?' And then, they got together, like Laverne and Shirley. Meanwhile, the rest of us felt the Invisible Hand of the Market trying to pluck our heartstrings. No. Wait. It's reaching for our wallets. Hey! That's not my wallet! I need an adult! Basically, the whole thing is: Buy This Crap Or Oprah And Bono Won't Be Your Friend."
Maybe the creators of the campaign thought it would work because they figured everyone out there is a mindless tweenybopper who just cares about buying the latest celebu-branded toy of the week and doesn't have time to worry about starvation and death in Africa. Hmm. Maybe they were wrong. Hmm. spend $100 million to get $18 million. Hmm. Yea, perhaps they were.