Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World (Paperback)
  • Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World (Paperback)
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Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World (Paperback)

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£13.99
Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 11/03/2011
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\u201cHas there ever been a better reason to shop?\u201d asks an ad for the Product RED American Express card, telling members who use the card that buying \u201ccappuccinos or cashmere\u201d 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. In Brand Aid, Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte offer a deeply informed and stinging critique of \u201ccompassionate consumption.\u201d Campaigns like Product RED and its precursors, such as Lance Armstrong\u2019s Livestrong and the pink-ribbon project in support of breast cancer research, advance the expansion of consumption far more than they meet the needs of the people they ostensibly serve. At the same time, such campaigns sell both the suffering of Africans with AIDS (in the case of Product RED) and the power of the average consumer to ameliorate it through familiar and highly effective media representations. Using Product RED as its focal point, this book explores how corporations like American Express, Armani, Gap, and Hallmark promote compassionate consumption to improve their ethical profile and value without significantly altering their business model, protecting themselves from the threat to their bottom lines posed by a genuinely engaged consumer activism. Coupled with the phenomenon of celebrity activism and expertise as embodied by Bono, Richey and Ponte argue that this \u201ccausumerism\u201d represents a deeply troubling shift in relief efforts, effectively delinking the relationship between capitalist production and global poverty.

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 9780816665464
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 318 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"There is a desperate need for critical intervention in debates about Product RED and other manifestations of development capitalism. Brand Aid, a smart and edgy book, deftly meets that need. It asks big, penetrating questions about production, consumption, and global inequality and it answers them in rich and provocative ways." -Samantha King, Queens University


"Brand Aid is an original and important contribution to the critique of international development. Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte argue that the celebritization of aid marks an important shift that in effect divests the wealthy of any responsibility for global poverty. Brand Aid is a great book." -Vinh Kim Nguyen, University of Montreal


"Readers and academics interested in the ways corporate philanthropy is evolving will find this useful, as will armchair sociologists." -Publishers Weekly

"This is a thoroughly researched and well-written book and one that pulls no punches; you know from the very first pages how the (RED) initiative will be dissected and found wanting. Thoughtful and highly critical." -Times Higher Education

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