It's been a year since the first Red T-shirts hit Gap shelves in London and Mya Frazier over at Advertising Age reports the much publicized campaign has only raised $18 million worldwide.
The article also he collective marketing outlay by Gap, Apple and Motorola has been enormous, with some estimates as high as $100 million. Mya also interviewed Trent Stamp.
Trent Stamp, president of Charity Navigator, which rates the spending practices of 5,000 nonprofits, said he's concerned about the campaign's impact on the next generation. "The Red campaign can be a good start or it can be a colossal waste of money, and it all depends on whether this edgy, innovative campaign inspires young people to be better citizens or just gives them an excuse to feel good about themselves while they buy an overpriced item they don't really need."
In their defense:
Julie Cordua, VP-marketing at Red and a former Motorola marketing exec and director-buzz marketing at Helio, said the outlay by the program's partners must be understood within the context of the campaign's goal: sustainability. "It's not a charity program of them writing a one-time check. It has to make good business sense for the company so the money will continue to flow to the Global Fund over time." She added that since many of Red's partners haven't closed their books yet on 2006, more funds likely will be added to the $18 million.Ok... perhaps this one isn't all about the return on investment (ROI) from the sales of jeans, iPods, and cell phones. Don't get me wrong. Measuring ROI on these programs is essential. But consider this:
The U.S. Congress just approved a $724 million pledge to the Global Fund, on top of $1.9 billion already given and $650 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
I think the real question is whether or not the Red campaign helped a little bit to secure this additional funding... and if so, shouldn't it be seen as a PR campaign instead of a retail program?