The Bono-backed (PRODUCT)RED charity has hit back at recent reports suggesting its fund-raising and awareness campaign has failed.

It has been suggested that the charity and its partners have spent in excess of $100 million on marketing only to raise just $8 million for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS in Africa. These suggestions first surfaced in a report on AdAge.

The charity has many high-profile supporters, including Apple. Apple sells a (PRODUCT)RED iPod nano. The way (PRODUCT)RED works is that products are marketed as part of the scheme and a slice of every sale is donated to the charity.

According to Contact Music, "sources" close to the campaign are annoyed at these lazy reports, criticising them because they have been less than objective.

"First of all, RED didn't launch products until mid-October 2006. And they raised $25 million. Before that, the fund had taken in about $5 million over a four-year period. Before that, they had one T-shirt out and a pair of sunglasses," these sources assert.

The notional $100 million marketing spend is also slammed in the fight-back. The charity didn't spend anything on marketing, though its partners did.

"The $100 million is a phantom number AdAge pulled out of thin air. It's off by tens of millions of dollars," the sources said, with campaign director Bobby Shriver pointing out that the controversy should help keep the issues in the picture.

"This can only help us all stay focused on the fact that 5,500 Africans are still dying needlessly of AIDS every day," Shriver says.