Are Christy Turlington's Nipples Helping Africa?

Irish singer Bono's (Red) campaign—you know, the thing besides guest-editing July's Vanity Fair that Bono's doing to help bring awareness to the plight of African AIDS victims—got slammed yesterday in AdAge. The mag got all bitchy on the discrepancy between the estimated $100 million for marketing and the campaign's $18 million gleanings. (Red) didn't like that so much!

Ad Age quoted activists who urged consumers to "buy less crap" and instead give their money directly to the Global Fund, as well as a public-service professor who said that projects like (Red) are "crowding out philanthropic activity and even substituting for it." Today, (Red) director Bobby Shriver responded by posting an open letter to Ad Age editor Jonah Bloom.

Shriver claims that existing marketing dollars were diverted to the campaign, so that money would never have ended up in Africa anyway. And he's adamant that the good done by (Red) can't be measured exclusively in dollars: "The companies have erected signs in stores and billboards across America saying that AIDS in Africa is a serious global problem. What is the value of that communication? Your writer never tells us."

Oh, that's what those signs and billboards were trying to tell us! We thought they were just about how, like, a red iPod is cool-looking and Penelope Cruz is hot. We're dumb or something!

Costly Red Campaign Reaps Meager $18 Million [Ad Age]
Letter to the Editor [(Red)]