Monday, September 24, 2007

According to Bobby Shriver, Red is Not in the Red


Adweek ran an article:

Bobby Shriver comes from a philanthropic family. His mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, started the Special Olympics, and his father, Sargent, was the first director of the Peace Corps. He has followed their example by founding, along with Bono, (Product) Red, a program that donates a portion of the sales from designated products to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, with the dollars earmarked to fight AIDS in Africa. He was named Advertising Person of the Year by the Advertising Club and will be roasted by his associates on Sept. 24 at an Advertising Week lunch.

In the article, Shriver noted in passing why some companies declined to participate:

Our mission statement is to get the world's iconic brands involved. If you made a list of the top 10 iconic brands, there would be Motorola, Gap and American Express. Suffice it to say, we did visit others. They were very good and took meetings, but they said no. Certain people felt they would be criticized for doing it. Some people feel like Gap should pay its African workers more, or Motorola [which manufactures its phone packaging in Africa] should make more stuff there or that, instead of advertising products, they should donate their ad budgets and not advertise. Some felt it makes it seem like the Red products are the good products and their other products are bad. Other people felt like [they should] wait and see. People who said no didn't have the guts. They were afraid. It took a lot of guts for the companies to go for it. As it becomes proven, the people who said no will say yes because they will see it as a commercial necessity because their competitors will have an advantage.

Adweek then asked the following question:

Red came under criticism for its collective ad spend of $50 million compared to the $45 million raised for the Global Fund so far. How do you respond?

Shriver responded:

The basic idea is we never spent a penny. The money they spent is the money they spend in the ordinary course of advertising. Our job isn't to tell them how to spend their marketing money. Our job is to give them an idea that will distinguish them from their competitors. Our job is to make (Product) Red known to people in the same way Paul Newman's salad dressing is. Endowing the logo with the same integrity as Paul Newman's face is a tall order.

So if you can embarrass Paul Newman, then you have a logo that can work for TWO lines of charitable products.

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