Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Monday, March 05, 2007

How clueless am I?

Okay, don't answer that question. I try to keep up with what is going on around me, but there are a few things that I just miss.

One is the so-called "Red Campaign" which promotes purchasing of red products with some of the "profits" going to charities that combat AIDS and other infectious diseases. Bono, and a number of other celebrities, have given their time and reputation to the campaign. All of this started last year sometime and I have been completely bypassed by it all - clearly I am not in their demographic.

Today's Advertising Age reports that the Red Campaign has been promoted with approximately $100 million in advertising dollars. The total number of dollars contributed in the same time period?

$18 million.

That's a short-run return of $1 in contributions for every $5.50 in advertising dollars. It would seem that the contribution of the ad money to the fund to fight AIDS would be a more direct, although less celebrity-friendly, approach.

In the long-run it is hoped that the initial spending spree creates a solid foundation from which future contributions will be generated. That sounds like a dangerous proposition as one-time advertising campaigns are renowned for their very short half lives.

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