Red candle launch supports anti-AIDS campaign

Red candle launch supports anti-AIDS campaign
By Walter Ang
June 25, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The simple act of buying a candle can let you help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Diptyque, known for its line of more than 50 scented candles, has teamed up with Product Red, a charity marketing movement that enables its partners to donate profits toward funds for stemming the spread of AIDs in Africa.

Rock musician Bono (who is also a Chevalier de la L├ęgion d'honneur and a Knight of the British Empire) created Product Red together with Bobby Shriver, nephew of former US President John F. Kennedy and brother of California first lady Maria Shriver, in order to "make it easy for people in the shopping malls ? to get AIDS drugs to Africans who can't afford them."

Companies like Apple, Gap, Converse, Dell, Starbucks and Nike, among others, partner with Product Red to develop a specially co-branded product. A portion of the profits from these partner products are then donated to The Global Fund, an international financing institution that supports prevention, treatment and care programs against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Over five million people have already benefited from Red since it was founded in 2006.

The world is getting smaller everyday and shoppers in Manila can be part of the Red campaign. Rustan's, the exclusive distributor of Diptyque, launched the Diptyque Red special edition candle at the Ayala Musuem.

Ten percent of all sales of the special edition candle is donated to support The Global Fund's "Born HIV Free" campaign?with a single goal where no child is born with HIV by 2015. The campaign was originated by former model and current First Lady of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a Global Fund Ambassador.

Dina Tantoco, Rustan's Marketing Communications Head, addressed invited guests. "Rustan's cares ?[and] it is our hope that you will find it among your caring selves to join us and be with us for this noble cause as well," she said.

The launch was supported by The Peninsula Manila Hotel, Wine Story and the French Embassy, highlighted by an exclusive performance from the Eolipile French Contemporary Dance Company.

Guests included Silvana Fornari, wife of Italian Ambassador to the Philippines; Guillermo Luz, executive vice president of the Ayala Foundation; jewelry designer Roberto Coin, entrepreneur and socio-civic leader Lizzie Zobel, Michael Huang, assistant to the president of Rustan's; TV personality Kim Atienza and his wife Fely; and fashion designer Lulu Tan-Gan together with the founder and artistic director of Eolipile French Contemporary Dance Company Lin Yuan Shang.

Special edition
The special edition candle is made from rooibos and other vanilla varieties, all harvested through fair trade practices, and comes packaged in an African wax print design.

The rooibos provides "a fresh aroma with balanced notes of virginia tobacco, mate (a tea made from yerba mate leaves) and red fruits," while Indian vanilla adds "hints of grass and hay-like quality." Madagascar Vanilla rounds out the scent with "sensual undertones of wood and balsam."

Diptyque actually started out as a fabric store in France in 1961, but when three owners (painter Desmond Knox-Leet, set designer Yves Coueslant, and Christiane Gautrot, who worked in architecture at the time) started offering perfumed colored candles in 1963, it steered the brand towards another path. They launched their line of fragrances five years later.

Purchase of Diptyque Red special edition candles will fund grants that serve programs in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia. Sixty seven percent of all people with HIV live in Africa yet the continent is home to just 10% of the world's population. The disease is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. The programs include interventions targeting women and children such as education, HIV testing, counseling, medication and the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmissions.

Diptyque Red special edition candles are exclusively available at Rustan's Makati Grandmall, Alabang Town Center, Shangri-la Plaza.

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