AIDS in Africa is a tragic issue that we'd all do well to be concerned about. Bono is a good man for trying to bring this concern to the fore.
All the (RED) products, however....
I feel much the same way about (Red) as I do about 'pink'.
In short, if you are truly concerned about making a difference for the stated cause, send the charity a check. In the case of (Red), that would be The Global Fund. It doesn't have to be a big check; the amount of the proceeds donated for any of the purchases at The Gap would probably be less than $1.00 per clothing item. So just send $5.00 to the charity and don't feel you have to tell the world about it.
That's what gets me about (Red) products. I've got to look at the ad for the Gap line on the back cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly and everytime I see it, the cynic in me wants to throw up. Since I'm already in the bathroom that's very convenient. But all the shirts and belts worn by the shiny happy people have this air of smugness about them. When people buy these products are they paying for the item or for the smug? Because those things--especially the shirts, with slogans like Desi(red)--are now so ubiquitous, when a person wears one they may as well hang a sign from their neck.
World: I am a Good Person. Probably Better Than You. Because Eighty-Three Cents From This Shirt Purchase Was Sent To Some Charity Somewhere That Bono Thinks Is Cool.
I've never been a big fan of bragging about one's charitable deeds. To my mind once you tell people about it, it ceases to be charity and becomes publicity.
Huh. This is interesting. In a kind of backhanded way. The (Product)Red website offers an Impact Calculator which allows us all to gauge the value of our (Red) purchases. Kind of. I think it's rather clever of them, because instead of revealing the dollar amount they receive for each purchase, they tell what the like-value is. For instance the Impact of a Gap T-Shirt is "41 single-dose (nevaripine) treatments to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child." That's probably better than telling people the actual monetary amount received by the charity. I myself have seen enough of those Sally Struthers commercials to know that Africa is this bizarro world where $20 can feed, clothe, medicate, house and educate a human being. Ironically, according to Medilinks Africa, the African cost of Nevaripine is
Free as two doses for mother and infant treatment
Yes. You read that correctly. Nevaripine is offered free by the drug manufacturer for mother/child treatment. The 41 single-doses the T-shirt "pays for" are most likely the cost of a technician who distributes the pills as needed. So, about eighty-three cents.
Don't worry, though. If you aren't getting enough smug for your buck when you buy (Red), you can feel free to send Impact Cards to your friends and family. In short, you can send them an email letting them know exactly how much your consumerism has helped the dying of Africa and guilt them into helping too.