Bono just posted on Comment is Free promoting his buy-red initiative as a way to squeeze virtue out of commerce:
I’m not sorry for poor Africans but I am sorry for the British and Irish public who have had to suffer the most recent outbreak of Bonoitis of which there seems to be no known cure though I hear Guardian readers are working on a vaccine …
In defence: There are some really exciting things happening on the ground in Africa and back home that are worth making a song and dance about.
To help us with the HIV/Aids emergency we have come up with the concept of Red products. Why Red? Because Red is the colour for an emergency. And 6,500 people dying in Africa every day of a preventable and treatable disease is an emergency.
Red is where desire meets virtue, where consumerism meets philanthropy, where shopping attempts to meet the need of a continent in crisis, where once HIV/Aids meant a death sentence but where two pills a day can now have you back at work in 40 days.
Really the deal is this. These brands are prepared to share their profits with the Global Fund to Fight Aids in the hope that the association with Red will bring them to new and more loyal customers. [snip]
Big business is not bad. Big bad business is bad. It is strange that it took the continent of Africa to turn an activist onto commerce, but that’s what Africans want now – to do business with us, to trade, to have dignity of labour. Of that, more later … until you find the vaccine.