Author: M. G.
Holy words by Bono during the Cannes Lion presentation, where he was presented together with design guru Jony Ive. During a talk in front of a public of marketeers, the singer openly criticized the Californian brand and its branding style.
(RED), the fundraising project founded by Bono to work towards a HIV-free generation, started collaborating with Apple years ago and Apple is actually still the main brand contributing to Bono's project financially. Nevertheless, during the presentation the U2 pop star showed the audience the new I-Pad cover by Apple for (RED) and shared his disappointment in seeing that (RED)'s logo was only put inside the cover - in order to always be covered by the tablet. "Where's the (RED) branding?" he asked Ive. "Nobody can see that. This is modesty run amok. This is the Apple way. They're like a religious cult."
Bono then started a real-time brainstorm session with the marketeers in the public about how to keep the issue of HIV more in the spotlight and not ‘under cover'. Bono got many answers and somebody also mentioned the creation of a new .hiv internet domain, which we think is very interesting. However, what's really important is that business cards were exchanged and there's a chance that we'll hear about something new and groundbreaking from (RED) soon.
Bono was criticized in the past for his project because it implies, in some way, that fundraising for HIV prevention can be done through projects of branding, marketing and consumerist strategies. These are doubts that can have some foundation: when you buy (RED) products, such as a 99$ lamp, some of the money will go to the The Global Fund. If you really want to help, why don't you give money to the Fund directly, without buying a lamp? In that case you can even make your donation tax deductible. This is not the way some people think fundraising should go. Anyway, why would you ever need that freaking lamp?
Bono's reasoning can also make sense: brand products give information about consumers and about the people who buy them and such products can become an input for those in a position of responsibility. "Politicians would be saying [about supporting HIV prevention projects], 'I'm not feeling it in my district. Why should we care about this?' said Bono during the presentation and then recalled: "When (RED) started turning up in shopping malls, they cared."