Editor's Note: One year ago, Bobby Shriver and U2 lead singer Bono announced their innovative (PRODUCT) RED initiative at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Since (PRODUCT) RED's official October rollout, more than $11 million has been raised from the sale of products marketed by GoodBiz113 ad partners American Express, Apple and Converse, plus Emporio Armani, Gap and Motorola. Following, is an update from Shriver, (PRODUCT) RED's CEO...
Last year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, we launched (PRODUCT) RED, an idea that had been taking shape for a couple of years. The premise was simple: create a brand that would put global marketing genius to work for people dying of AIDS in Africa.
We knew consumers were the key. The (RED) products had to excite and inspire them. First step was to gin up the corporate sector — to make them see (RED) the way we saw it.
Our goal all along was to “get the check” for Africa -- not just once, but over and over. The Global Fund’s goal is to receive 10% of its funding from the private sector, but it had raised less than 1% in its first five years. The road map to turn this tide was what we spoke about on January 26th, 2006, when we came to Davos with Dr. Richard Feachem, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, and four blue-chip global brands.
It’s been a hell of a year.
We started to build (RED) in the U.K., where the first-year objective was to launch and develop a brand that would engage and tap the creativity of iconic global companies. The results have been compelling, from the initial founding partner — American Express -- to the launch partners — Emporio Armani, Gap and Converse -- to the subsequent year one partners — Motorola and Apple. With six renowned brands demonstrating key differentiating positions, targets and products, (RED) ends year one in a strong position.
From March to September 2006, we concentrated on communicating the concept of (RED) and publicizing a relatively limited product offering.
In October, (RED) introduced its first full product offering from partners to coincide with its launch in the U.S. market. We are now heavily focused on delivering for the (RED) customer and the (RED) community. Now, the fun really begins. And the funds are flowing!
(RED) has delivered a total of $11,303,926 to the Global Fund thus far. Based on early conservative estimates, we believe that when holiday sales have been totaled, (RED) will have generated another $10 million for the Fund*. Two countries in Africa are the initial beneficiaries.
In Rwanda, (RED) money is supporting Global Fund-financed programs, which have already:
· Reached over 168,000 mothers with counseling and services to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV
· Trained over 1,000 healthcare providers in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
· Reached over 325,000 people with voluntary counseling and testing for prevention of HIV
· Trained almost 3,000 counselors to teach prevention of HIV
· Provided antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS to almost 16,000 people, including almost 3,600 infants and children
· Set up 41 health centers to deliver antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS
In the next two to three years, these programs aim to more than double the number of women reached with prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and to expand the reach of antiretroviral therapy from half the population to the entire country.
In Swaziland, (RED) money is supporting Global Fund-financed programs, which have already:
· Reached over 4,400 mothers with services to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV
· Trained over 150 midwives and doctors in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
· Equipped over 40 hospitals to provide services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV
· Reached over 140,000 people with voluntary counseling and testing for prevention of HIV
· Trained over 70 counselors to teach prevention of HIV
· Set up over 35 counseling and testing centers for prevention of HIV
· Established feeding schemes in 335 schools
· Built 154 community feeding centers
· Provided education support for over 36,000 vulnerable children
· Provided antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS to almost 15,000 patients
· Trained over 3,000 health workers to deliver home-based care for patients with HIV/AIDS
In the next two to three years, these programs aim to increase fourfold the number of women receiving treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; to offer comprehensive support for orphans; and to more than double the number of people currently on antiretroviral therapy.
What have we learned in this first year? Some details:
(RED) has had incredible media and consumer response in the U.K. and U.S.
The media reaction (RED) has enjoyed in year one in the U.K. has been phenomenal with in excess of £16 million worth of positive editorial media coverage -- including high-profile newspaper partnerships with The Independent and on-air partnerships with Sky.
Consumer awareness is high, particularly amongst urbanites and those predisposed to ethical shopping practices, and the response to engagement is very positive. We have found that the "sweet spot" for the target is 18-35 female/male split; the target varies depending on the product offering.
In the U.S., a PR launch on Oprah, Larry King, CNN and across the networks -- along with massive advertising campaigns from Gap and Motorola -- have driven awareness of the brand to 20% of the U.S. population. The aspiration to bring the issue of AIDS in Africa to the malls and main streets of America has been met.
For the future, we will be increasing our (RED) product partners in specific categories to provide consumers with compelling options across everyday, as well as premium, (RED) products in multiple markets around the globe. We will remain a brand that is dynamic — one that evolves to keep empowering customers who want to make their money work smarter. Most importantly, we will continue to be engaged in the fight against AIDS with the vision that this treatable, preventable disease can be eliminated.
CEO, (PRODUCT) RED
* Monies are sent directly from the Partners to the Global Fund. (RED) does not break down the figures by Partner in order to protect each Partner from competitor scrutiny.
Help support (PRODUCT) RED by buying a Sprint Power Vision Phone RED MOTORAZR V3m by Motorola today! In the U.S., each phone sale yields a $17 contribution made to The Global Fund.