Saturday, October 06, 2007

cold war unicorns and bono

Ali, a good friend of mine, was overseas for four months because the Department of Immigration and Citzenship (DIC) dicked her around for a good two months or so, which is surprisingly fast by their standards.
Ali has only just returned to our dubious shores and much to my extreme pleasure she came back with some great gifts for me and my boyfriend.
Firstly, as you can see she returned with these awesome cold war unicorns. Brilliant!
But more significantly, to my boyfriend's and my utter amazement, she bought us an Apple iPod Shuffle each. And not only that but, because they are the same colour, she had our
names printed on the back of them so we don't get them confused.
Perhaps more interestingly, Apple claims they donate some money to 'the Global Fund,' to fight AIDS in Africa.' They don't say how much they donate and the
(PRODUCT)RED campaign is dodgy for several reasons.
And here they are:
1) It's a corporate initiative. That is, it's for profit. Product Red is a kind of symbiotic company that, in a sense, commissions other businesses to make items with their brand on it. Surely it would be a lot easier for businesses such as American Express, Armani and Apple, who all participate in this scheme, to just donate money to 'The Global Fund' to raise money for AIDS survivors in Africa? Ah, but then they wouldn't be making money off of it, would they?
2) According to this article, orignially published by the Independent Online (who is also a partner of Product Red), as of January 2006, less than 1% of the Global Fund's revenue was received by big businesses (although the initiative was launched at the same time as that article was published). Having said that, none of the businesses affiliated with Product Red have divulged to their loyal consumers the percentage of profits they donate to the Global Fund. Why not? Surely they would want to show off. Well, it turns out, Product Red has spent more moolah on advertising than they have generated raising revenue and thus fighting AIDS. They managed to raise a measly $18million as of March 2007. Oops. So who's benefited here? Big business. Who would've thunk it?
3) Bono's involved in Product Red. This is a bad thing and no mistake. Listen to what Bono has to say about ethical consumerism:

Philanthropy is like hippy music, holding hands. Red is more like punk rock, hip-hop; this should feel like hard commerce." He added: "People see a world out of whack. They see the greatest health crisis in 600 years and they want to do the right thing, but they're not sure what that is. Red is about doing what you enjoy and doing good at the same time."

What? So moral actions these days come down to commerce alone, which he also adds is sexy. Right-o, Sir Bono. Maybe for you.
A backlash to Product Red is the Buy Less Crap site, which encourages punters to actively donate to the Global Fund rather than more or less passively consume.
Fuck I hate Bono!
But having said all of that, if it's the difference between having an iPod that I didn't have to shell out a single cent for and not having one, I'll take the Product Red iPod any day. Does this make me a hypocrite? No, no it doesn't.
Thanks a heap, Ali!
now playing (in my iPod): the fall - powderkex

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At 9:17 pm, Blogger Nic said...

I read in the paper last week that Bono was 'distressed' and was 'having trouble sleeping at night' because of the situation in Burma.
Poor guy! How he must be suffering. We spend so much time feeling sorry for those selfish media-hogging monks that we forget to consider what Bono must be going through.


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