Profiting in (RED): The Need for Enhanced Transparency in Cause-Related Marketing
69 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2010 Last revised: 5 Oct 2010
Date Written: June 14, 2010
As a case study of the privatization of development assistance, this paper examines the financing and public disclosure mechanisms underlying Product (RED), a marketing campaign designed to raise funds for the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. The paper argues that many cause-related marketing programs operate in a non-transparent fashion that puts both consumer protection and consumer trust in philanthropy at risk. It suggests that charities regulation offers some useful tools for ensuring greater levels of transparency and accountability among programs like (RED). Specifically, the piece recommends that entities that cross the line from commerce into philanthropy should be subject to the same (or similar) regulations as are applicable to actors more commonly recognized as operating in the charities arena, such as professional fundraisers or commercial co-venturers.
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