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Lady Gaga Raises $202 Million for MAC AIDS Fund, Forbes Reports

~Let's Put Her to Work Paying Down the Deficit!~

Currently on newsstands is Forbes magazine’s '100 Most Powerful Women' issue and there at number 11 is Lady Gaga, whose blurb tells us that she is 25, that she ‘banked $90 million last year’ and ‘raised $202 million to fight HIV/AIDS through MAC’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipgloss sales.”

Holy Simoleans, Batman. $202 million?!!! That makes Lady Gaga the most effective single cause marketer ever given that she’s only been in the public eye for about three years. How did I miss this amazing cause marketing story?

In fact, the truth is a little ‘more nuanced,’ as the politicians like to say, even if Gaga may really turn out to be among the greatest cause marketers ever.

John Demsey, group president of The Estee Lauder Companies, which has owned MAC since 1997 and who chairs the MAC AIDS campaign, introduced some reality in an interview with the Wall Street Journal recorded February 18, 2011.

The MAC AIDS Fund raises money for people with HIV/AIDS through the sale of MAC Glam Lipsticks and Lipglosses. 100 percent of the purchase price of MAC GLAM lipsticks/glosses goes to the AIDS Fund. I have always admired the utter simplicity and enormous appeal of MAC’s approach.

In the first 16 years of the MAC AIDS Fund, GLAM products have generated a little more than $200 million in donations. In 2010 Gaga and Cyndi Lauper, the co-spokeswomen for the current campaign, generated $34 million for the MAC AIDS Fund, about what MAC raised in its first 10 years of the GLAM campaign.

Gaga’s goal, and one presumes Lauper’s, is to bring the total up to $250 million by 2012. That would mean MAC Glam would have to do about $50 million in 2011 alone. No word from MAC on where they stand on that goal with just a little less than 4 months left in the year.

But if Gaga and Lauper make it, that makes their partnership with MAC worth some $84 million.

That’s not the $202 million in the Forbes piece, but it’s a stunning number nonetheless for a 2-year effort.

And quite a feather in Gaga’s headdress.

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