Dell and Microsoft Join Forces, Go (Red) -- but Why?

dell%20microsoft%20red.jpg

We hate the (Red) campaign.

But it doesn't matter what we think, because it marches on for reasons beyond the realms of human understanding. You really can get people to buy crap products if you promise X percent of $X will "support four months" of antiretroviral medication to an unspecified number of AIDS patients somewhere in Africa.

Who? Where? What is antiretroviral medication?

Is Bono really this powerful?

by Angela Natividad    Jan-24-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Cause, Packaging   

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Comments



Comments

BoNO MUST DIE!

http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=3mUbat6xLRY&feature=related

Posted by: Joe on January 24, 2008 1:32 PM

If you don't even know what "antiretroviral medication" is (DUUU--anti+retro-viral=don't have to be a rocket scientist), why should ANYONE listen to your opinions on any subject? Your ignorance is completely shocking. Oh- and do please let us know what your brilliant minds have to offer in terms of better solutions for solving the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa-- assuming you care, which is likely a terrible assumption.

Posted by: wendie on January 24, 2008 4:02 PM

Yeah, Wendie, let's talk daft.

Okay, you've accepted the idea that "antiretroviral medication" is the solution to AIDS.

WHY?

Are you a doctor?

What is in this cocktail, assuming it's the same one every time? What kind of solutions can it present to a "virus" that behaves differently in each of its hosts?

And what in hell do any of us know about Africa (which is a really big fucking continent) or any of its problems?

Buying (red) shoes, or a (red) computer, or a (red) hoodie for "antiretroviral medication" for "Africa" is about as logical as buying any of those things to "improve quality of life" for "disenfranchised parts of Europe."

And what have you got? Some self-righteous Americans pouring money into the Holocaust -- and feeling damn good about it.

Posted by: Angela on January 24, 2008 4:28 PM

Okay, you've accepted the idea that "antiretroviral medication" is the solution to AIDS.
(I never said that. Quite simply, it's the best we've got now. Until something better is invented, it's what we've got.)

WHY?
(Because it keeps people alive. Give me a call when you actually KNOW someone who is diagnosed HIV positive, and you realize it's not a death sentence. Then you'll understand what "it is." Too bad you obviously don't know anyone who was diagnosed before we had it, and isn't here now. Then you'd definitely get it.))

Are you a doctor?

What is in this cocktail, assuming it's the same one every time? What kind of solutions can it present to a "virus" that behaves differently in each of its hosts?
(Again, I'll spell it out for you: you're diagnosed HIV positive: do you want the medicine that keeps you alive, or will you take a pass on that option??)

And what in hell do any of us know about Africa (which is a really big fucking continent) or any of its problems?
(Actually many of us know a hell of a lot about certain places in Africa. Did you know people travel there, and many actually stay and live there?! My daughter is living there now, for example. Come out from under your rock, whoever you are!)

Buying (red) shoes, or a (red) computer, or a (red) hoodie for "antiretroviral medication" for "Africa" is about as logical as buying any of those things to "improve quality of life" for "disenfranchised parts of Europe."


And what have you got? Some self-righteous Americans pouring money into the Holocaust -- and feeling damn good about it.

(I feel so very sorry for you-- and that said, I'll leave this conversation for good now. I can only hope something serious occurs in your life that will allow you to catch a glimpse of compassion. It's what will open your jaded heart, trust me. In the meantime, why don't you take a trip to Africa? They have planes that fly there and everything!)

Posted by: wendie on January 24, 2008 6:26 PM

don't know much about AIDS medication. but i do know that a percentage of the (RED) proceeds goes to help people in the third world. how in the name of god can that be a bad thing? AIDS is laying waste to an entire generation in africa. Bono et al are doing an undeniably good thing here.

and lazy hipster sniping about how "over" bono they are is frankly irrelevant and stupid and mind-blowingly self-centered.

he's doing his best to save human life that would otherwise waste away in misery. what the f**k could possibly be wrong with that?

and they're not "crap" products btw. have you actually bought any?

Posted by: veedub on January 25, 2008 3:35 PM

RIGHT ON TO YOU, Veedub! "Mind-blowingly self-centered" is so absolutely true. If we could rid the world of these types, the planet might actually have a chance. Given we can't, it seems so important to speak out loud and clear when they open their offensive mouths the way this one has! Thank you!

Posted by: wendie on January 25, 2008 3:41 PM

Why does project (red) deserve carte blanche because it purports to be doing something good? The point I'm making is that we don't know that, and it's selling a damn lot of products on faith.

In a previous job, I worked with people from Kenya who told me relief aid is often sold on the black market by the same people that are supposed to be giving it away. And relief funding donated to exhausted governments is not always spent the way the donors intend.

Historically even UNICEF has gotten in trouble for abusing the funds it's been given. You could argue that the big companies involved are conducting follow-up research to ensure their donations really make a difference, but that's another faith step.

Statistically, most people will purchase an item that is tied to a good cause over a competitive product. It's a feel-good choice. That doesn't mean we should exempt that choice from scrutiny.

And that's all I'm saying -- project (red) may well be helping a good many people, and I'm sure it is. But I don't like thinking most people will swallow the premise without knowing much about it, buy the (red) iPod, get the good vibes, and look no further.

Posted by: Angela on January 25, 2008 4:47 PM

angela,

as far as i can gather (RED) was based on facing the reality that getting donations out of consumers was increasingly a dry well. so let's create a brand that will allow allow consumers to get products they want and give a contribution to the developing world. consumers win, brands win, developing world wins.

the stereotype of aid money from the west being used to buy Rolls Royces for African dictators is an out-dated one. but people (and governments) continue to tell it to themselves as an excuse not to give money to what seems like an insurmountable problem. the aid distribution system is not perfect, what is? but it's come a hell of a long way from most people's perception. i've had some contact with developing world charity work in africa. and the image of the noble (white) aid worker unloading sacks of grain to give to the starving masses is thirty years out of date. it's a lot more sophisticated than that now. they can account for every penny because they know they have to.

but you're right, people should scrutinize (red). and i'm betting it stands up to scrutiny. but (red) was sort of founded on the premise that people don't want to scrutinize. they don't really want to get involved. they want stuff that's cool.

Posted by: veedub on January 25, 2008 6:39 PM

Veedub, again, you're right on. The (RED) model is the way of the future, as the sad truth is that a very finite number of people are ever going to be willing to open their wallets to give to this, or any charity. The global ills we face today are running way ahead of anyone's ability to raise solution-money the old-fashioned way-- by bagging on a tin cup and showing a sad face.
Our planet's current problems require exponentially huge amounts of cash for us to even dream of finding solutions, and the only way to generate HUGE cash is to move the equation away from traditional non-profit philanthropic models and toward private sector for-profit business models designed primarily to make money in the marketplace.
Forgive the explanation, but it illustrates my main point to Angela: using a for-profit business model to unlock the world's biggest problems is the ONLY choice we have, because nothing else is gonna work- period.
And by the way, it's not exactly a new idea, invented by "evil Bono." Paul Newman is the original poster child for this model, and his effort has raised phenominal amounts of money for child-related causes-- do you despise Newman's brand too?? Ah yes, pure evil, buying salad dressing and in the process, effortlessly helping kids with cancer! How many of the people who buy Newman's products today do you think are people who would alternatively be willing to consistantly donate their cash to charities? NOT MANY. But because they NEED salad dressing, they buy it-- and in the process, everyone wins. How much money has been raised by successfully selling more of everything from lipstick to tic tacs because they are branded with the breast cancer ribbon? TONS.
Like Veedub said, people like cool stuff, and they WANT to help. It's a win-win.
So, if you can your head around the concept being solid, and accountability is your only gripe, I would suggest you spend some time doing your homework on the subject as it concerns (RED). The Global Fund has gone to EXTRAORDINARY lengths to make sure the cash hits the African ground fast in the form ATV pills-- and the scrutiny surrounding their processes has been unprecedented. Just Google (RED), GlobalFund/AIDS/Africa/fund distribution and READ! All the info ANYone would ever want or need about how the cash is reaching the victims is available, reported on by the media--in spades!! ((RED)'s website can give you multiple links)
Also, your heart might find itself involuntarily warmed by checking out this site (and bonus!--you'll also learn what antiretroviral drugs are!) http://lifestyle.msn.com/mindbodyandsoul/personalgrowth/staticslideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=5974630

Please, might you consider redirecting the time/effort you spend criticizing efforts that are working better than anything has before--toward anything solution-oriented? Or at a minimum, consider staying quiet until you have ANY better ideas to offer up?

Posted by: wendie on January 25, 2008 8:09 PM

It seems to me,(and I'll admit this is not a exceptionally informed opinion on the topic, but at least an honest one) that everyone participating in this discussion agrees campaigns like the (red) campaign are based in brand and consumer selfishness. It isn't about whether or not the money is getting to Africa, or whether it's actually helping anyone, but rather on the promotion of a globally concious brand and a consumer's desire to seem globally concious while being self serving. As many people have pointed out, this is a "win-win" situation, but no one really knows if the real "benefactors" of this charity effort are being helped. By "no one" I mean the people actually buying the products. Maybe it would be better to say they just dont really care. Saying that this is the future of charity efforts seems rather bleek to me, and sets us up for future charity scams. Yeah, it's ok we're all doing it for selfish reasons, it helps people...we think. If we really want to create a solution I think we're going to have to put more store in doing good things for the purpose of (get this...) doing the right thing. I'm not bashing the (red) campaign, Im just saying this whole discussion has pointed out the problems with campaigns like this. It isn't raising aids awareness or communicating the necessity of donation (which are the real steps to solving global issues like the aids crisis in Africa) it's condemning efforts like this to the blank minded space in which most people shop. Imagine, the charity walmart...everything you need in one store, just choose a department, Aids, Cancer, litteracy...where do you want your funds to go?
...SICK!!!

Posted by: Anika on January 27, 2008 7:27 PM

Anika, I feel compelled to say thanks for caring enough to weigh in on the subject at hand...but that said, I'm finding it hard to locate a substantive point to your comment. Perhaps it was just intended to be a reflective comment. You say "this whole discussion has pointed out the problems with campaigns like this. It isn't raising aids awareness or communicating the necessity of donation (which are the real steps to solving global issues like the aids crisis in Africa) it's condemning efforts like this to the blank minded space in which most people shop." Forgive me, but I pretty much pointed all my discussion points toward countering the accused negatives to the (RED) approach, attempting to refocus the discussion on the positives-- meaning the RESULTS--which are quite tangible and documented. I'm sad this didn't come through in the discussion thread for you, and will work to be clearer in my commentary in such discussions in the future.

Posted by: wendie on January 27, 2008 9:32 PM

yes, anika it is sick. but apparently is necessary. (red) is in the business of saving lies. everyone knows that here in the USA. Bono and Oprah made sure of that. so everyone knows that buying (red) products gives some money to poor people in africa.

and the people involved, most notably bono, know what they're doing. bono has been involved with helping the developing world for 23 years now.

nobody wants to give money to help the developing world. that's the reality. and (red) is a response to that reality.

the 27 year old woman with four sons in the slums of addis ababa dying of AIDS she contracted from her husband, for example, could care less where the money for the medication that is saving her life came from. and neither could her four sons.

raising doubts about the efficacy of a clearly life-saving program seems a bit weird to me. you think bono's making money out of this? you're worried about scams. great. be careful.

(red) is good. we need more things like it. yay! for (red)

Posted by: veedub on January 27, 2008 9:37 PM

One more time: Go Veedub!

And Go (RED). Yes, we need more initiatives like this one-- LOTS more.

Anika, for whatever it's worth I will say to you what I said to Angela:
Please, might you consider redirecting the time/effort you spend criticizing efforts that are working better than anything has before--toward anything solution-oriented? Or at a minimum, consider staying quiet until you have ANY better ideas to offer up?
Check out the link I directed Angela to-- see real people who were dying and are now living, thanks to funding from (RED). Better yet, think about their children, who they will now be able to raise.
How anyone could consider wasting time lobbing defeatist commentary at life-saving fund-raising efforts is obviously quite beyond me. Perhaps you could help enlighten me as to the beneficial aspects to your commentary? Thanks in advance.

Posted by: wendie on January 27, 2008 10:50 PM

i'd just like to announce that me and wendie are getting married.

;-)

Posted by: veedub on January 27, 2008 11:27 PM

It was not my intention in the least to provide "defeatist commentary" on life saving efforts, and I'm sorry that's what you got out of my post. Rather, I was pointing out the perverse nature of the suggestion that mutually self-serving campaigns, like the (red) campaign, are the only future for charity efforts. Before I am attacked for saying the (red) campaign is mutually self-serving, please keep in mind that I am not suggesting this is a negative trait of the campaign (the win-win thing still applies)I am only remarking on the negative light this sheds on the Western world. The commoditization of causes, such as Aids relief, just makes me feel a little sick. As for the "beneficial" aspects of my commentary (although I wasn't aware the purpose of my post was to provide a tangible "benefit") I would hope that it provides food for thought as to the direction of fund-raising efforts, and what that direction might say about us as a society. My intention was simply to point out something which this thread had illuminated for me, and see what fellow bloggers thought about the insight. I think that's what blogs are for...
to wendie: your support of the (red) campaign came out loud and clear in your posts, and I respect your opinion. If you felt my post had no "point" in the context of the discussion I apologize, but as I've explained above I think it does. There aren't just two sides to a debate, there are an infinite number of "points" that can be made in relation to a discussion like this. I was simply relating a thought which was connected to the topic. It was reflective in some ways, but what's wrong with that?
Thanks for your time.

Posted by: Anika on January 28, 2008 9:49 AM







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