Friday, March 09, 2007


Thanks Adam. If you're ti(red) of corporations simply adding a product and suddenly moving from "human rights violator" to "philanthropist", then check this out.


Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

That article about the (Red) campaign, while raising interesting points, is somewhat misleading. As the singular/central solution to the world problems, I agree, it is ridiculous, but in a culture where consumerism is rampantly selfish anyway, why not subvert a portion of it? After all, Jerusalem was rebuilt from the riches of a pagan King's spoils conquer.

Further, the money figures are not accurate, as they don't account for what these companies would have spent on marketing anyway, the local markets created (as many of the products are made at fair trade value in Africa), how a significant portion of the profits made came from people who would otherwise not have given to charity, how a large portion of the advertising campaign would have been spent anyway in soliciting funds/awareness, how it has been one of the single most successful awareness campaigns in some time, etc.

So, while I agree it is not perfect, I think too many of the critiques have not been entirely fair. I fear the commodification of poverty as well, something I have seen done both in the context of living in an inner city community and as a writer. However, I think we need to be more gracious and open to many solutions instead of holding out for the "best". Anyway, just a few thoughts. Thanks for keeping us wrestling with this!

Jamie said...

So, I couldn't find any link to the actual article about (Red) that Jamie was refering to... but my thoughts-

yes, I think the red campaign and many others are often too much hype and all out of selfish ambition of the companies... but jamie does make a lot of good points.

the other thing about "buyless" campaign... it says 'give more'. although there is a great need for $$$ to fund projects one of the greatest dilemmas in the world of development is the whole issue of dependency.... it's a bandaid when maybe creating employment can eventually overtime lead to longterm solutions....

just a few thoughts.

but, i am still skeptical of the whole (Red) campaign and others like it....

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

Good points. Stuff I have thought of as well. However, I was specifically targeting GAP. Do you know how many people think of GAP as this noble, humanitarian, green company? It's ridiculous. They assume from the RED ads or the PEACE, LOVE, and GAP ads that they're some model. Truth be told: they have been on human rights watch for a long time.

Yes, commodification of poverty is dangerous. The "Make Poverty History" only works with a "Make Deccadence History" and "Make Paternalism History" as well as several others.