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Old 10-24-2006, 04:24 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Liesje
True, but I wonder how far we can blame "the media" instead of ourselves? I'm thinking of my little sister and how she comes home from school and spends hours reading trashy websites and teen magazines seeking all the latest info on her top ten celebs. If she would put HALF as much effort into reading even just the first page of the world news section of our newspaper, I think she'd really take notice of things that actually matter.
And maybe also come out a little less jaded about human potential and a little less likely to make uninformed presumptions about how "other people" think and what they value. Celebrityworld is a fishbowl of self-fulfilling prophecies.

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Old 10-24-2006, 06:26 PM   #17
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Originally posted by redkat
living in the U.S at least, I think a person has to seek info. on what's going on in Africa. It's not in our faces and unless you look for world news reports which I doubt the average person does, you wouldn't know.
To be fair, a person has to seek information on what's going on with AIDS in the United States as well. (ie African Americans make up 13% of the population but 50% of the people with AIDS)

Yes, she ranted for a bit but I can't say I 100% disagree with her.

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Old 10-24-2006, 08:30 PM   #18
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Some of the stuff she was saying was a bit incoherent, but I agree with the gist of what she is saying. I'd rather give my money directly to charity than have some of it lining the pockets of some big corporation that might be using sweatshop labor. Besides, I don't want to be mistaken for one of those "I only do charity because it's fashionable and trendy" people.
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:12 PM   #19
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interesting article. Honestly, although I also cringe at the thought that consumer consciousness is suddenly "in style", I'm grateful for how fast it has spread. I mean, 10,000 villages, along with loads of other similar groups have been out for awhile...and to the average person, have been unnoticed.

But now it is everywhere. I'm just happy it is spreading awareness and enlightening some others.

Perhaps that is the point of red? I mean, there are loads of us that already do our thing...but this is a way of reaching out to even more people. I mean really, of all the mainstream and popculture things that make me twitch...this is something I don't mind being mainstream at all. I just hope it lasts...

And not that donating to charity isn't worthy, because it totally is. But if more companies want to invest in Africa, I'm all about it.
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:12 PM   #20
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Originally posted by Liesje

Very fair point. I guess the whole thing has made me disappointed that has come this far in the first place. It takes novelty items like $200 sunglasses and iPods for people to even NOTICE that half the world is starving? I do fully support the (RED) campaign, including the concept of businesses profiting while being charitable, and I will buy something when they produce something I want/need, but I also think it's an unfortunate yet realistic reflection on what actually motivates people to take notice.
Unfortunately, it does. Since I have been wearing my Bo(red) shirt people have told me they liked it, asked wear I got it from and what did all mean, people who didn't know about the product red do now and will maybe go and check it out and purchase something. Therefore, a donation will be made by someone who most likely wouldn't have made one. And just by wearing a sweatshirt or t-shirt. I fully support it. The woman who wrote the article I don't think has all her facts.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:12 PM   #21
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Originally posted by Liesje

It kind of embarasses me that I have to somehow prove via public display of a bracelet or shirt that yes, I do actually care about the rest of the world. I feel like for me it's better to do what I've been doing all along, making a point of studying development, volunteering time, and making donations when I can. I don't need a grungy sweater from the Gap to feel like I've made a difference.

I don't know much about the RED campaign but my problem with is having to read how much people will buy in the GAP store and how they are glad they are helping and even getting their friends to buy RED products too. I just think it's in bad taste to show off about donating to any cause, I believe in doing those things quietly. Why make some big corporation even richer, why not just give all the money that the GAP would take a large chunk of to another charity supporting the same cause? That's what I really don't get about it.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:30 PM   #22
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Originally posted by redkat
living in the U.S at least, I think a person has to seek info. on what's going on in Africa. It's not in our faces and unless you look for world news reports which I doubt the average person does, you wouldn't know.

One of my professors the other day said the average american has a 3rd grade IQ

It is quite sad that it isn't on the news. Maybe that's why RED is going the way it this consumer, celeb driven culture maybe it may proves to be a viable path.

3rd grade?! Reallly?!
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:49 PM   #23
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I suppose the bottom line is that RED has already raised around £5 million in the UK for the Global Fund which it otherwise wouldn't have received and it's bound to raise a lot more in the States. Yes it's sad reflection that it needs a consumer campaign to make most people aware of the continuing crisis in Africa and do something about it, but if that's what's required then so be it.
I haven't bought any RED items because I haven't needed or wanted them but I have got a RED American Express Card because that seemed a really good idea -if I'm using a credit card anyway I might as well use one that pays 1% of my expenditure to a cause of my choice. I'm just surprised that it hasn't been extended to the US yet though.
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:23 PM   #24
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I'd like to raise an alternate point of view here...

I thought that the point of (RED) is to get to the mainstream consumers who just aren't all that engaged in what's going on outside of thier own little world...and likely never will be.

These folks would probably not, on thier own, seek out information about, much less donate money to, organizations like the Global Fund. Would it be better if they did? Sure. But that's unlikely.

But if they need a cellphone, an ipod, or a pair of sunglasses, and would be purchasing these items anyway, why not offer them an opportunity to make an (albeit small) difference? Making these items trendy and desirable is a stroke of genius, since they wouldn't be appealing to those consumers otherwise.

Based on what I have seen about how (RED) is being positioned, the target market is definitely NOT those who are already educated about Africa, or those who routinely donate money to the various agencies at work there, or who have "walked the talk" by going there to work or volunteer, like Lies did.

The sad reality is that this level of dedication is only to be found in a small percentage of the overall population, and given the massive scale of the problems, the solutions need to rest with more than just that small percentage. (RED) is a way to painlessly gather additional resource from the 90% of the population who like it or not, don't really know or care what's happening in Africa.

Anyhow, just one person's opinion. I bought a (RED) nano for my husband this week. He has been wanting an ipod for a very long time...and he kept taking mine to use, so it's definitely a purchase we would have made anyway.

I hope nobody flames me...
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:32 PM   #25
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Ok I just realized I said like exactly the same thing as Redhotswami did above me

so I guess it wasn't really an alternative point of view...
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Old 10-26-2006, 07:36 PM   #26
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It doesn't really bother me. I think Bono said he'd have lunch with the devil if it meant helping Africa. This is pretty close for a lot of people. However one thing I have come to appreciate immensely about Bono is that he is (has become) a man of action, not only activism. Activism and protest, while absolutely necessary, tends to be reactionary and confrontational, and does not seek to find a solution. It only points the finger. Product Red is a undeniably solution in that:

1. It raises awareness
2. It raises money for AIDS in Africa

Then who cares if corporations feel good about themselves, they would seek a way to do this regardless. I also do not buy the argument that it encourages more consumption. Rather it taps into consumption that is already taking place, as well as the charitable activities of corporations.

While mindless over-consumption and the questionable activities of corporations are important concerns, you have to choose your battles.

EDIT: My 2 cents - I think the writer of the article in the Globe is struggling with some guilt over her past shopping habits.
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:01 AM   #27
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LA Times

A Silver Medal for Project Red

The star-powered effort to help Africa by selling hip clothes and
gadgets is admirable, but it also reveals how far behind the continent

By Dan Turner

October 26, 2006

Better Red than dead. That's what I figured when I stopped by a Gap
store the day after Project Red's Oct. 13 U.S. launch to pick up a
T-shirt and, incidentally, save the world.

Project Red, the brainchild of U2 frontman Bono and Santa Monica City
Councilman Bobby Shriver, is a cross-branding partnership in which
Apple, Motorola, Converse and other companies earmark profits from Red
iPods, RAZR phones and sneakers for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria. Thanks to Gap's nationwide celebrity
billboard campaign and Bono's appearance on "Oprah," the line of
shirts, jackets and sweatshirts is a hit. At the Gap I went to,
shoppers were picking over the few remaining Red shirts.

Project Red's success to date is inspiring stuff. Yet there was one
slightly sour note as I thumbed through the short stack of Gap
T-shirts. Right under the XL on the label (hey, these things are
designed for 19-year-olds) were the words "Made in Cambodia."

Cambodia has its own problems with AIDS and other diseases. Yet Asia,
unlike Africa, has developed a sophisticated manufacturing industry,
especially for apparel. The bulk of the money raised by Project Red
will go to fight AIDS and malaria in Africa, which in turn will reduce
poverty -- but not as much as a vibrant manufacturing sector would. If
Bono and Project Red's other heavy-hitting backers really want to help
Africa, wouldn't it be better to make the Red products there?

In fact, some of Gap's Red clothes are made in Africa; those T-shirts
with messages such as "INSPI(RED)" and "BO(RED)" are made in Lesotho by
Precious Garments, a Gap contractor that employs 4,500 people. That the
rest of the line is made elsewhere is no fault of San Francisco-based
Gap Inc., but it does point up the logistical nightmares that make
turning Africa around far more complicated than handing out AIDS drugs.

Fabric mills use expensive, high-tech machines to weave thread into
fabric, and Africa has very few of them. If a retailer wants an
African-made shirt, it typically has to ship the fabric from Asia so it
can be cut and sewn in Africa. This made some economic sense when
textile exports from powerhouses such as China and India were
restricted by World Trade Organization quotas. In January 2005, those
quotas were lifted. Now retailers can get all the clothes they want
from Asia faster and cheaper than it would take to get them from

So why not build more fabric mills in Africa? Sub-Saharan Africa still
lacks the infrastructure -- stable governments, power lines, paved roads
-- to support industry. Also, the workforce is so sickened by AIDS and
malaria that business owners never know whether their workers are going
to show up.

Bad as this situation is, it could get worse. One of the few remaining
competitive advantages for companies such as Precious Garments is that
its clothing can be exported to the United States duty-free under a
trade deal with sub-Saharan Africa signed in 2000. A provision that
applies to apparel made in Africa out of fabric made elsewhere expires
in less than a year. If it isn't renewed by Congress, much of Africa's
fledgling apparel-export industry could be crushed.

Shriver, Project Red's chief executive, says the success of Gap's
clothing launch has piqued the interest of other companies that want to
sell Red products; he has recently been contacted by car companies, a
beer company and even a candy maker that wants to sell Red chewing gum.
None of these things are likely to be made in Africa (though Addis
Ababa Hubba Bubba Gum has a nice ring). For now, we'll just have to
settle with saving millions of people from needless death; Bono and Co.
can tackle trade inequities next week.
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:27 AM   #28
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Originally posted by Catlady
Ok I just realized I said like exactly the same thing as Redhotswami did above me

so I guess it wasn't really an alternative point of view...
After reading your previous post, I was totally going to respond with a

You did say what I said, but with much better articulation and coherency Noone else had commented so I thought perhaps I didn't get my point across. But thanks to you, I see that I did!

And I'm not gonna flame ya, I think you're brilliant!
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:36 PM   #29
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Let's face it: it's not supposed to matter in this country. We sepnd so much time on worrying about celebs that we don't teach kids about what's really important. How many of us actually talkabout what's going on in Africa, as opposed to screaming in outrage every time someone says Bono is fat, or Larry is too skinny?

I mean, seriously, think about it. I know I don't spend much time online doing anything useful. How about you?
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:46 PM   #30
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I spend time online doing things that are both useful and frivolous. All things in moderation is my goal...

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