Talk show host Oprah Winfrey and humanitarian rocker Bono hit the city's "Magnificent Mile" on Thursday for a shopping spree to promote a new line of clothing, accessories and gadgets, including a special-edition iPod, that will raise money to fight AIDS in Africa.
Dozens of "(Product) Red" items will go on sale in the coming weeks by Gap Inc., Apple Computer Inc., Motorola Inc., Converse Inc. and Emporio Armani.
Portions of the product sales will go to The Global Fund, an organization that fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
"Some people won't put on marching boots, so we've got to get to people where they are at, and they're in the shopping malls," Bono said in a phone interview. "Now you're buying jeans and T-shirts, and you're paying for 10 women in Africa to get medication for their children with HIV."
The Gap, which will debut its Red line in stores on Friday, will donate half the profits to The Global Fund.
Apple will contribute $10 from the sale of each new red-colored iPod nano. The model, priced the same as its $199 cousins, goes on sale Friday.
The celebrities, who arrived at the downtown Chicago Gap store in a red Ford Thunderbird, got a sneak peak at the products during a private shopping stint that will be broadcast Friday on Winfrey's show.
After visiting the Gap, the duo walked along Michigan Avenue to an Apple store and picked up the red iPod, the first music product from the Cupertino, Calif.-based company designed to raise money for charity.
The two also stopped at Armani and Motorola stores.
"Shop 'till it stops," said Bono as he walked out of the Apple store clutching bulging shopping bags.
So far, the (Product) Red initiative, which began this spring in Britain, has raised more than $12 million for African AIDS programs, said Doug Piwinski, a spokesman for (Product) Red.
With Apple's iPod alone, The Global Fund stands to raise millions of dollars. During the holiday quarter in 2005, Apple sold 14 million iPods. The iPod maker also plans to donate some proceeds from a $25 iTunes Red gift card to the organization.
"I love the fact that Bono is trying to do something about this problem," Apple's CEO Steve Jobs said in a phone interview. "I've never been to Africa, but you don't have to go there to know there are a lot of people dying of AIDS there. In a small way, this is something we could do about it."
Bono, who knows the difficulties of raising awareness for social causes, was thrilled with the retailers' efforts for the campaign.
San Francisco-based Gap had its four-story store in Chicago decked out in red banners. Apple planned to light up its flagship 5th Avenue store in New York in red on Thursday night.
2"We've moved from the philanthropy budgets to the marketing budgets, and guess what, there's no comparison in size," Bono said. "We now have some of the most creative people in commerce — Steve Jobs, the marketing people at Gap and Motorola — all working for the world's poor. That is so so cool."
Bono's AIDS awareness mission didn't end with Oprah, the rock star also spent time with President Bush in the windy city on Thursday. Bono and model Christy Turlington greeted Bush at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to discuss the AIDS relief aboard Air Force One before the President headed back to Washington.
Bono flashed a peace sign before the group went in the plane for a 10-minute conversation.