I’ve always liked the color red. Bono of U2 along with a little nobody named Bobby Shriver must have heard me. I think Bono has reached international stardom at a level where almost everyone in most countries knows who he is. But for those of you who didn’t know, Bobby Shriver’s background could be considered as royalty if there were any kings and queens in the US. The man is merely the nephew of a President of the United States, brother of the first lady of California, son of the founder of the Peace Corps who ran for vice president, and son of the founder of the Special Olympics. In any case, these two, Bono and Bobby, have joined forces, by using their clout and social power, and launched (Product) Red.
A business model and not a charity, as emphasized in its Manifesto, (Product) Red hopes to generate enough money to help finance the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa by persuading the world's biggest companies to release special (Product) Red-branded goods, giving part of the profits to the fighting fund.
In addition to Apple, which has just released a special edition (Product) Red 4 gig iPod Nano, there is a whole list of other companies that have signed up for the cause. To name a few: Converse, Gap, Giorgio Armani, American Express, Motorola -- all have chimed in, with new ones signing up in coming months. Each company have pledged to donate a certain amount or percentage of the sales generated from the (Product) Red items to The Global Fund.
Okay, so you’re thinking, “But I don’t have the extra cash to burn, man!” That’s alright too. You can still support the cause by making a WeeMee via AIM. A WeeMee is a visual identity on the AIM service that you can create for free and then use your animated alter-ego to express yourself, communicate and have fun with new and old friends. Wait, there’s more. You can even accessorize your WeeMees with free (Red) gear including Emporio Armani (Product) Red sunglasses, Gap (Product) Red t-shirts and a (Red) Motorola cell phone. WeeMees get dropped into AIM WeeMee backgrounds, including the new (Red) cityscape, where it's packed with animated surprises. You can also express your support for (Red) through a new series of (Red) smileys and (Red) buddy icons.
If you’re not ready to commit in terms of purchasing, or even committing in creating an alter-ego WeeMee, you can still show your love by signing up for their newsletter. Or, check out the (Blog) Red.
(Product) Red merchandise is only available in selected stores near you.