Bono, Bill Gates and Social Marketing

The marketing of good causes took a huge leap with the creation of Red by Bono and Bobby Shriver. Products and services will qualify for the “Red” stamp or appellation when they give some of their profit towards giving anti-AIDS medicines in Africa. The Red Manifesto explains:

You buy (Red) stuff. We get the money, buy the pills and distribute them. They take the pills, stay alive and continue to take care of their families and contribute socially and economically in their communities.

Essentially, Red offers ordinary people the opportunity to make a difference in a way that is easy and accessible. I think Bono is making a big difference with this creative approach, using his biggest resource – his fame – to mobilize resources from the wide audience that knows and trusts him.

If Bono’s key strength is his ability to reach out to millions of people, then Bill Gates key strength is his ruthless ability to strategically destroy his opponents. Thankfully, after years of doing this in business, he has turned his attention to the opponents of humanity – hunger and disease. The Gates Foundation is run like a business, with clear measurable objectives, intelligent strategies and high-quality execution, all backed by the Gates fortune.

For me, there is a strong personal lesson in this. I ask myself, what change do I want to make, what cause matters to me and what strength, ability or resource can I bring to bear on the problem? Most of us aren’t Bono or Gates, but we can make a difference too.


  1. The best way to start making a difference today? Make it in what you do, with what you have, wherever you are.

    If you are a singer, sing for your cause. If you are a film maker – make a film for your cause. If you are a cook, cook for your cause.

    We have breakfasts for social causes here in Dubai, for example 🙂


  2. Rohini said

    Gotcha, Mr Drucker. Spiffy blog I must say. 🙂

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