(Product) red | pt. 2 of 2

While still a young venture, (RED) is already making a tangible difference in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Positive feedback about (RED)'s efforts has reached their headquarters in Los Angeles, sometimes through surprising avenues. Smith recounts a meeting with executives from Gap in which she was told about how a man from Ghana waited outside a Gap store in southern California, asking if he could meet some of the employees. The man explained that he had lost eight family members to AIDS and knows of several more that are ill, and because of (RED), he has hope for their lives.

Home based care for people living with HIV and AIDS in Rwanda. photo | courtesy of the Global Fund/John Rae

Antiretroviral drugs are offered to HIV/AIDS patients. photo | courtesy of the Global Fund/John Rae
Folding T-shirts at that particular Gap store probably never felt the same after a meeting filled with hugs and a thank you from someone who believed (RED) could change the lives of people he cared about.

Retail employees of respective (RED) partners have proven to be an integral element in the brand's success. Amid store-specific duties, retail employees often have impromptu discussions with customers about AIDS in Africa, the Global Fund and how buying (RED) affects them both. Shriver seems happily in awe of this type of communication. "The most amazing [success] to me is the amount of word of mouth going on in the Gap, Sprint, Motorola and Apple stores where the sales people are talking to customers [about AIDS in Africa]."

A care point and feeding center supported by the Global Fund, Swaziland. photo | courtesy of the Global Fund/Gideon Mendel

These employees are able to discuss a variety of topics concerning AIDS in Africa. With the help of the Global Fund, these conversations focus on the positive impact that (RED) makes through their programs. Dr. Feachem recounts the story of a young Rwandan girl named Denyse who was, in essence, brought back to life three months after starting antiretroviral treatment for her HIV positive condition. At their first meeting, Denyse was skeletal, listless and had just found out that she was HIV positive. When Dr. Feachem returned three months later, Denyse was full of life - smiling and skipping down the hall. Her treatment is made possible by a health center financed by the Global Fund with contributions from (RED).

Orphans attend school with fees supported by the Global Fund in Swaziland. photo | courtesy of the Global Fund/Gideon Mendel

With so many choices available to consumers, it's easy to get lost in the process of selection. (RED) offers a lot more rhyme to one's purchasing reason, as well as a way to feel connected to something positive. "You know, it's interesting, I don't think of (RED) as a cause or as a model. I think about 6,000 Africans a day dying, and that's an emergency," Smith states. "With (RED) you don't have to feel bad, you don't have to make a sacrifice; you can actually do something. It's very immediate; it's visceral; it's a very American idea. It's empowering - it's turning commercialism and pure self-interest on its head and making it work for the poorest people in the world."

Orphans and vulnerable children learn income-generating skills at this trade school in Rwanda. photo | courtesy of the Global Fund/John Rae

Even though (RED) incorporates a great sense of benevolence into its business brand, the staff is quite savvy at combining their strong humanitarian convictions with an even stronger sense of business ethos, making (RED) a powerful business model. "We're kryptonite to complacency and inertia," Smith explains. With impressive sales, an army of MySpace friends and a contribution to life-changing AIDS work in Africa, (RED) has already proven that it will do more than just confront the business jungle; it will embrace it.

People receive training to develop income-generating skills in Swaziland. photo | courtesy of the Global Fund/Gideon Mendel

A People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) outreach worker stands in front of a patient's home in Rwanda. photo | courtesy of the Global Fund/John Rae

(RED) ™

The Global Fund
Geneva Secretariat
Chemin de Blandonnet 8
1214 Vernier
Geneva, Switzerland
+41 22 791 1700

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