I write with reference to Una Mullally's column (News, 8 August) "Why are we teaching people that the only way to help those worse off than us is to consume? Why not give directly to the cause?" as it exhibits a lazy, Wikipedia-dependent style untypical of your newspaper.
Your writer proffers a 'why bother' simplistic argument, suggesting that brands should cease to advertise, while lumping (RED) together with a war crimes trial and the possibility of a Caribbean presidential campaign. At face value, this is offensive polemic. (RED) was created to drive private-sector money into the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Before (RED) was established, the fund was unsuccessful in getting corporate-sector involvement and the lack of corporate buy-in was beginning to affect public-sector commitment. (RED) in just four years has fixed this problem by becoming its largest private-sector donor. having generated over $150m (€115m).
The article you cite from Ad Age three years ago about the marketing amounts spent was inaccurate and speculative. (RED) does not have a designated marketing budget but persuades (RED) companies to spend some of their existing marketing budgets on (RED) products.
Up to 50% of the profits from each (RED) branded product goes to Africa to fund Aids treatment. (RED) gives its partners a business incentive to be (RED) so that they can continue to make a profit, whilst generating funds for those who need it. Furthermore, our partnerships have enabled us to create not one, but multiple revenue streams. This regular flow of money helps provide ongoing treatment for people living with HIV/Aids in Africa.
I'll end with a quote from Dr Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria on (RED) reaching the $150m milestone: "(RED) money has impacted millions of people living with HIV and Aids in Africa, saving lives and bringing hope to those living with the disease. (RED) is a great example of what can be achieved through effective public-private partnerships – the concept has been an enormous success, engaging the private sector in raising awareness and a sustainable flow of funds to help reduce the devastating impact of the pandemic."
Seb Bishop, CEO (RED) International
82 Baker Street, London W1U 6AE