Brand Aid: Development Capitalism, Celebrities, and Consumption

Quadrants: Health and Society Global Cultures

“Has there ever been a better reason to shop?” asks an ad for the Product RED American Express card, telling members who use the card that buying “cappuccinos or cashmere” will help to fight AIDS in Africa. Cofounded in 2006 by the rock star Bono, Product RED has been a particularly successful example of a new trend in celebrity-driven international aid and development, one explicitly linked to commerce, not philanthropy. With this project Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte offer a deeply informed and stinging critique of “compassionate consumption.”

University of Minnesota