Irish rock star
Bono on Friday launched the U.S. version of his "Red"
campaign that turns shopping into a funding stream to fight
AIDS in Africa.
program--the brainchild of the U2 singer and Bobby
Shriver, nephew of the late President John F.
Kennedy--encourages shoppers to buy Red-branded
goods, while manufacturers pledge to channel a portion of
the profits to AIDS programs financed by the
U.N.-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and
The campaign has
already raised about $10 million in Great Britain since
its launch there earlier this year.
"The idea is
simple, the products are sexy, and people live instead
of die," Bono said in a statement. "When you buy a Red
product, the company gives money to buy pills that
will keep someone in Africa alive."
Gap is offering
T-shirts and jeans; Motorola, a red cell phone; Converse,
a series of limited-edition shoes; Apple, a red iPod nano;
and Giorgio Armani, a collection of clothes and
accessories--all of which will carry the Red
trademark and channel up to 50% of profits to the program.
promoting the campaign on Oprah Winfrey's TV show on Friday
after a shopping trip to participating Red stores in Chicago
The U.S. launch
was also marked with full-page advertisements in major
newspapers as well as celebrity support from Winfrey,
rapper Kanye West, singer Mary J. Blige, actors
Don Cheadle and Penelope Cruz, and model Christy
Bono and fellow
Irish rock star Bob Geldof have used their fame to raise
money for Africa through international concerts and
campaigns, meant to press leaders of rich nations
to do more to eradicate poverty.
The Red campaign
works alongside the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty
History--a longer-term project launched in 2005 by
Bono and 11 U.S. aid and nonprofit groups--that
has more than 2 million members.
The Global Fund
was established in 2002 to channel government and
private-sector funding into the fight against AIDS, malaria,
and tuberculosis--the big killer diseases of the
developing world--with a focus on Africa.
"We want to
change history by writing its future," said Shriver, a
Santa Monica, Calif., city councilman. "People buy things
every day. But now when they buy Red, they will look
good and do good--and that's good business."