Red feels to me like the hottest brand of 2006. This is the venture started by Bono to raise money for AIDS in Africa, not through charity, but by creating cool, "must-have" products with leading brands. The companies selling these products donate part of the profit to fight AIDS.
The first one to sign up in the UK was American Express, followed by Gap, Motorola and most recently, Apple iPod:
John Grant over at Brand Tarot wrote an article on Red which gives a good explanation of why its such a powerful brand, with an edited version of his key points being:
"1. Run by a charismatic, passionate leader who draws the gaze of the world’s media: Bono
2. It has a killer design idea. In a confused cluttered, post-traditional world it stands out a mile - and stands for something.
3. Its all about enthusiasm. Despite half a century of ‘cool’ and half a millennium of ‘chic’, the ultimate core value of consumer culture is enthusiastic participation.
4. It makes playful connections with other brands, sparking off each other
5. Its a GOOD brand. Not selfish, but good for the species. It starts with a cause, a manifesto, an agenda for change."
One interesting angle on the Red story is the fact that the partner brands have to partner with Red to integrate a social dimension. I wonder if its not stronger to have your own agenda, such as Dove and its Campaign for Real Beauty, which was discussed in an earlier post?
5-minute workout: if you were to have a social dimension to your brand, what would you campaign for? Would you then campaign with your own agenda like Dove, or "borrow" a social cause like Red's co-branding partners?