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How Vice And (RED) Created A Star-Studded Shopathon For World AIDS Day

Bono, Snoop Dogg, Olivia Wilde, Tom Brady, Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, and more helped launch a multi-platform charity extravaganza.

How Vice And (RED) Created A Star-Studded Shopathon For World AIDS Day

Last night, Jimmy Kimmel changed the entire format of his late night show, turning it into a holiday cornucopia of talk show, celebrity appearances and charity home shopping, all to celebrate World AIDS Day and raise money for the (RED) charity.

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But the show is just one huge piece in a larger puzzle that includes a partnership with Omaze that has lined up a laundry list of impressive celebrity experiences, including playing catch with New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, walking the red carpet with Meryl Streep, hanging backstage with The Weeknd, getting your portrait painted by James Franco, spending the day in Colorado with Snoop Dogg, a makeover with Kim Kardashian, being a part of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s pre-game ritual, and many more.

There’s also an e-commerce partnership with Gilt to sell a whole range of (RED) brand products, and a “Brunch with Brains” eBay auction that offers the opportunity to have brunch with business leaders like Jack Dorsey, Coke CEO Muhtar Kent, Co-CEO of WME and IMG Ari Emanuel, Warby Parker co-CEOs and co-founders Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, among others.

It’s a massive undertaking, with many moving parts and partners, and the lynchpin between it all is Vice Media and its in-house creative agency Virtue Worldwide. Sheila Roche, chief creative and communications officer at (RED) says it all started with the organization began its partnership with Vice. “We were looking at what Vice does and how they speak to millennials better than anyone else, and they were a dream partner for us,” says Roche. “It really gives us a way to showcase RED products in a way that we’ve never had the opportunity before. The infomercial with Scarlett is funny and cute, and she does this crazy home shopping host thing, and doing in that fun spirit was very important to us, and Vice just put these great ideas together and it’s really worked out.”

Vice Media’s executive global creative director Tom Punch says that while the home shopping format is an awesome format for selling things, but one that has become derivative. “But if you put in great scripting, personality and talent, with an irreverent tone, it could bring a really compelling way to sell things back to life,” says Punch. “And adding a charitable element makes it all that much more powerful. So RED was the perfect partner for this. Then we started thinking about how to make it into a bit of a telethon, which is another classic format in need of a new interpretation.”

The goal was to go beyond a one-off TV special, but create something that lived online across a number of channels like Omaze, Gilt, eBay. “The thinking was then how to make it so it wasn’t just about buying things, but also rewards and celebrity experiences,” says Punch. “Then all the stars aligned for December 1st, to make a holiday campaign that also ties into World AIDS Day, was the perfect time to do it.”

Punch says it all came together because RED was such a bold partner. “We’re always trying to do progressive things and we often have partners or brands that open the door and ask us to do something really groundbreaking, but then quickly backtrack and get very nervous when things start to get real,” says Punch. “But with RED, it wasn’t like that at all, Sheila continued to drive this and push us, and it all comes down to us both believing that in order to be heard you have to take risks and be very ambitious.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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