If you are a devoted member of the tech community, then the chance is that you’ll know all about Product (RED)- but if you don’t- then here’s a quick explanation:
Product (RED) was a scheme set up by the company (RED), which seeks to encourage private companies to contribute to the research and treatment of AIDS, in Africa. They do this by launching a Product (RED) version of their product- which (you may have guessed) is the colour red.
This may seem like an admirable scheme, and (RED) say that Product (RED) items have raised $435 Million– but in reality this scheme has been in decline since it’s early years. In fact today- most people would only associate this brand with Apple, who (RED) are most prevalent in. But why has this happened?
Although Product (RED) items raise money and awareness towards people affected with AIDS, the system relies on the sale of COMPANY X’s products- and when only as much as 50% of each sale can go to the fund (and it’s rarely that much)- this means that companies are effectively making money off people’s AIDS. This may seem like a cynical approach to a charitable cause, but it is undoubtedly a measured and pragmatic approach to charity. You’ll remember I spoke of the $435 million raised by the scheme. Well, compare that- the total amount of money raised from all partnered companies- with the value of just one company: Apple. Soon to be worth $1 Trillion. See the scale now?
But that’s not all- Apple, who are effectively the poster-boy of the whole organisation, notoriously charge extra for their Product (RED) items- from cases to whole phones. The (RED) version of the iPhone 7 is sold at £100 more than the regular one in the UK. And even that normal one I can’t afford. So what does this mean? Well, this means that Apple intend to make the money back that they’re contributing to the AIDS fund. I didn’t realise that was the point of the (RED) scheme.
So, there you go. You wanted a reason why (RED)’s not popular anymore- and this is it. Companies realise that there’s a growing consensus on the above few paragraphs, and don’t want their reputations hurt. Apple seem all right with it though (I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t charge extra). To be clear, I would not forcefully get rid of (RED), knowing that if I did, it would probably mean less companies participating in the global fight against AIDS. But I do believe that better methods of charity could, and should, be employed by companies- companies that shouldn’t have to be incentivised with even greater profit margins…