Bono’s Product RED campaign to fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa has partnered with Apple for so long that you could easily mistake it as an Apple-created initiative, and this year the effort turns 10 years old with more than $350 million raised according to the Financial Times. In marking the decade-long effort to raise awareness and eliminate the virus/disease, FT highlighted Apple’s roots in the campaign:
The late Steve Jobs was involved with Red, designing and selling a Red-branded iPod. Apple has maintained its connection since Jobs’ death in 2011. Two years ago, Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, and his colleague Marc Newson, ran an auction of specially designed products, including a Leica Digital Rangefinder camera the pair customised, which sold for $1.8m. The auction raised $13m for Red, matched by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Apple’s design chief Jony Ive shared his take in the piece on how Product RED has had a humanitarian reach, challenging the idea of any corporate effect.
Does Sir Jonathan think Red affected how companies think of corporate social responsibility? He demurs. “I’m much more interested in how a mother feels whose daughter is still alive than whether Red has had an impact on other companies.”
He adds: “The thing that first struck me was that the magnitude and ugliness of the problem would normally be cause for people to turn away. I loved the way Bono saw it as a problem to be solved.”
You can read the full piece on a decade of Bono’s Product RED campaign here.