Red charity disputes marketing budget

The Global Fund's campaign says costs, which critics claim far exceed donations, reported in publications are 'wrong.'

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Global Fund's "Red" anti-AIDS campaign vigorously disputed reports Monday that its marketing budget grossly exceeds charitable donations the fund has received.

The Boston Globe newspaper and advertising industry publication AdAge reported the Red marketing campaign costs total $100 million, a number the fund's head of public relations, Sheila Roche, calls "wrong" and an "overcalculation."

Roche would not disclose the amount of money spent on the Red marketing campaign, co-founded by Irish rock star and philanthropist Bono, and supported by The Gap (Charts), Motorola (Charts) and Apple Inc. (Charts), among others.

Julie Cordua, vice president of the Red marketing campaign, said the fund has raised $18 million in donation of private money.

"Through Dec. 31, our estimates are that we will have raised $25 million worldwide but we're only launched in the U.K. and the U.S. ... The checks are still coming in, and we believe we'll have over $25 million for the year 2006," said Cordua.

It's important to note, she added, that "in the past nine months 'Red' has generated nearly five times the amount of private sector dollars to the Global Fund than they have generated in their first four years."

The chief executive of the Red campaign, co-founder Bobby Shriver, said the Global Fund does not "spend one dollar" on the marketing of the initiative. "The companies who are our partners spend money on our marketing, not us," Shriver told CNN.

Motorola spokeswoman Juli Burda said, "We don't disclose any advertising budgets, campaign by campaign."

Calls to the partners Gap Inc. and Apple Inc. were not returned.

The Red campaign seeks to increase donations to the Global Fund to combat AIDS. Other big name celebrities involved include Christy Turlington, Stephen Spielberg, and Oprah.

- By CNN's Katy Byron

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