Apple Computer on Friday began selling a red-colored iPod Nano and $25 iTunes gift cards under the label of Product RED. RED is a project created by Irish musician Bono
and Bobby Shriver that aims to raise money for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria by donating a portion of profits from a range of branded products -- the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. The announcement was made on Thursday during the filming of the U.S. launch of Product RED on the nationally syndicated "Oprah Winfrey Show".
American Express, Converse, Giorgio Armani and Gap were the initial partners in the program and are distributing credit cards and selling tennis shoes, sunglasses and T-shirts, respectively, carrying the Product RED label. The four partner companies have committed to the brand for five years and have pledged to give an average of 40% of profits from the products to the Global Fund. London's Independent in May announced that it would become the first media outlet to sign on as a partner in the project. In addition, Motorola in May announced that it will partner with Product RED.
According to Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem, Product RED has raised more than $10 million in the U.K. from February through September. The funds generated from U.K. sales will be allocated to HIV testing and treatment services for HIV-positive women and children living in Rwanda and to supporting AIDS orphans in Swaziland, he said. Feachem earlier this month announced that Product RED plans to partner with five additional corporations in the next few weeks.
Bono, Winfrey and other celebrities on Thursday shopped in downtown Chicago in an effort to enlist consumers. According to Leslie Dance, vice president of marketing for Motorola, celebrities -- including Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Garner, Chris Rock, Maria Shriver and Steven Spielberg -- will promote and represent various Product RED goods (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/12). The Product RED iPod will sell for $199, the same price as other versions of the product, and Apple will contribute $10 from each sale to the Global Fund. "We've moved from the philanthropy budgets to the marketing budgets, and guess what, there's no comparison in size," Bono said.