3 Unite brands for

3 Unite brands for Charity

The concept is a simple one: create a color-coded product line for a specific cause and share in the benefits—from profit sharing to image boosting—while also donating part of the proceeds to charity. So far, six global brands have joined co-founders Bono and Bobby Shriver’s cause, (Product) Red, to fight AIDS in Africa. American Express, The Gap, Converse, Emporio Armani, Motorola and Apple all introduced Red products and agreed to turn over part of the profits to The Global Fund. The companies made a five-year commitment to the brand, and in return they get to keep some of the profits and category exclusivity. Though detractors say the companies aren’t donating enough, the money raised in the brand’s first six weeks in the U.S. is enough to provide antiretroviral medication to 40,000 people infected with AIDS for one year, according to joinred.com. While charity-specific products are not new, a brand collaboration of this size and scope for a cause is unprecedented.