What would you free with $100 million dollars?

I love the way Jimmy Wales thinks:

Imagine there existed a budget of $100 million to purchase copyrights to be made available under a free license. What would you like to see purchased and released under a free license?

(via Boing Boing)

What would I free, off the top of my head? The patented formulas for every current HIV/AIDS medication.

My fear? That the money the pharmaceutical industry hopes to make off these drugs far exceeds $100 million. You’d think that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would take the lead in this direction, except that freeing the source would seem to be in direct conflict with the origin of the foundation’s astounding $31 billion endowment.

Update: Speaking of HIV/AIDS, this has got to be the hottest image ever associated with the fight against AIDS. And I don’t mean hot sexy, I mean hot scintillating. What a stunning photograph (of a stunning beauty).

Christy Turlington in Product Red Gap Ad

These Product Red Gap ads have been plastered on billboards throughout the city, and every time I see Christy Turlington in a meditative yoga position, I practically freeze in my tracks.

Ah-ha, here’s one reason these images are so compelling:

To celebrate the introduction of the Gap (PRODUCT) RED Collection, Gap is launching a powerful new advertising campaign featuring an incredible cast of celebrities photographed by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.

iPod Made By Chinese Children To Benefit African ChildrenThe only thing that bothers me is how much this campaign is tied up in marketing and consumerism. It’s as if the subtext reads, the only way to make the West care is by influencing what we buy and who we buy it from.

No doubt the companies involved (GAP, Apple, American Express, Converse, Motorola, etc.) are looking for a boost in their non-(RED) products and brand image. Did Annie Leibovitz and the celebrities in the GAP ads volunteer their time? If so, shouldn’t that be as much a part of the message as buying more crap? If not, how much is being spent on the message versus the cause?

8 Comments

It’s the main text, not subtext: the only way to make the West care *is* by influencing what we buy and who we buy it from.

For instance the world is still suffering terribly from the tsunami, but the suffering doesn’t get any coverage here because there aren’t any bracelets or bumperstickers to buy.

I read that the (RED) iPod only donates $15 to the fund. I can’t believe Apple’s profit margin is quite that low… perhaps it is, but it’s an insult to have a product so thoroughly branded to the cause end up making so little financial difference.

(And yeah, Turlington is really quite stunning, and Liebovitz does seem to know how to work her camera. Whew! Hot!)

No, even worse: it’s only $10 per nano.

Oooooooh … so that’s why when Sekonick pulls a double she comes home and says she’s “ti-red” … :)

Why are people automatically defensive about effective marketing? In our society, it is what works. Apple is a CORPORATION. The fact that they are donating any money at all is remarkable. Sure, they could do more. Hell, I could do more! I sat through a lecture last night from a man who bears an UNCANNY resemblance to Eugene Levy’s character in “A Mighty Wind,” and afterwards, even the most anti-marketing people in my program had to agree that his content would have been served well by better packaging. I’m just saying… if you know it’s what works, use it for good. Worry about the revolution in making people care seperately. {end rant}

Leona, my concern is not with marketing per se (I think I clearly voiced my strong appreciation for the Gap-Leibovitz-Turlington ad, on several levels), but of the mingling of commercialism and charity. And the opaqueness of intentions.

Does Gap want me to buy more clothes from them to fix their sagging profits, or do they want me to help fight AIDS in Africa? Perhaps they want me to do both—fine—but then my fleece-dar turns on and wonders, how much is all this marketing costing, and how much is going to those affected by AIDS in Africa?

Contrast that with Sarah McLachlan’s World on Fire video, for example. Simple. Transparent. Eye-opening. And in my opinion, a much more effective message. Still “marketing,” and that’s ok.

goblinbox, just saw the iPod (RED) teaser in The Onion print edition and had to add it to this post.

joseph rice

Will it be possible to purchase copies of this photograph of Christy Turlington?

Methinks they’d make more money for AIDS in Africa selling posters than selling (RED) tshirts.

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