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{March 10, 2007}   Bono’s RED hits back at criticism

BonoRED, the campaign backed by singer and campaigner Bono to raise money for Aids in Africa, has hit back at an article criticising its performance.

The trade magazine Advertising Age described as “meagre” the $18 million raised by RED since its launch, claiming that participating companies had spent $100 million on marketing.

But the campaign has reacted angrily writing a series of open letters to the publication’s editor.

Bobby Shriver, RED’s chief executive and the author of one of the letters, noted that the scheme was only properly launched in the US in October last year and that the marketing money spent by the likes of Gap and Apple would have been spent anyway.

“We were able to divert existing marketing dollars for RED,” Shriver said. “The companies have erected signs in stores and billboards across America saying that Aids in Africa is a serious global problem.

“What is the value of that communication? Your writer never tells us.”

Professor Sir Richard Feachem, president of the Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria said in his letter that he was ‘disappointed’ and ‘surprised’ at the article.

The idea behind RED is to encourage consumers to consider charitable causes, in this case Aids in Africa, when they make choices about what they buy.

Partner organisations provide a range of special products and services and donate a proportion of the profits for the purchase of anti-retroviral medicines.

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