It’s the last day of the Cannes Lions and I’m rushing to the last session, where Bono and Jonathan Ive, the senior VP of Design at Apple, are hosting the (RED) session in front of an enthusiastic audience in the Debussy Theater. I’ve managed to find a seat in the middle of the fourth row, in the heart of the action. “This isn’t about charity, it’s about justice,” says Bono as he paces energetically across the stage. Raucous applause from the audience. “Every generation is known for something,” he continues. “Let’s be the one to deliver an AIDS FREE GENERATION!” The audience cheers and people get up from their seats. There is amazing energy in the air. Bono is really on a mission today.

But in truth it is a mission he’s been on since 2006, when he co-founded (RED) with Bobby Shriver. The aim was to engage businesses and consumers to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS. Over the years, (RED) has partnered with the world’s most iconic brands including Apple, Starbucks and The Coca-Cola Company. These companies contribute up to 50% of profits from (RED)-branded goods and services to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services.

RED for Around the World in 80 Brands
RED for Around the World in 80 Brands

Results so far have been mind blowing: to date, (RED) has generated more than $250 million for the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS grants across Africa. What’s more, figures are dropping at dizzying speed: in 2010, 1,000 babies were born every day with HIV. In 2012, that number was down to 700. (RED) believes that by 2015 it can be near zero.

“We can stop the transmission of HIV from mums to their babies,” says Bono. “In the fight to eliminate AIDS, 2015 could be the beginning of the end! But (RED) can’t accomplish this alone. It will take all of us to get there: governments, health organizations, companies, and you.

“We’re so close but we’re losing our impetus. The heat is off the issue and that’s why we need the help of the creative community to secure a HIV-free generation. We need to place the issue back in the spotlight and make that last sprint to the finishing line!” Again, cheers from the audience.

As Bono returns to his seat in the centre of the stage, session moderator Shane Smith, the founder of VICE Magazine, opens the debate up to the floor and invites the audience to pitch ideas and creative inputs. The energy level in the room keeps growing together with the conviction that we can actually achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation in the very near future.

Thirty minutes later, as I leave the theatre in a daze together with dozens of other energized and inspired creatives, I hear two guys behind me saying that Bono should really get a medal for his work with (RED).

“Oh but he is!” I say as I turn around and they nearly bump into me. “He’s receiving the first-ever Cannes LionHeart!”

Slightly surprised and laughing, one of them says: “It’s sounds amazing, but what is it?”

“The LionHeart is presented in recognition of people or organizations that have made a positive difference to people or the planet,” I explain, “but it is only awarded in ‘exceptional circumstances’, which makes it all the more special.”

“Well, there is no doubt that what Bono has achieved with (RED) and his fight against HIV is beyond exceptional, so he more than deserves a LionHeart!”


© 2014 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands

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Tags: #CBPersonal, #CBNWS, #CoolBrands, CBPersonal, CBNWS, CoolBrands, #CannesLions, Cannes Lions Festival, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, CoolBrands Online Personal Reputation, Cannes LionHeart, #(RED), RED, Bono, Jonathan Ive, Jonathan Ive the senior VP of Design at Apple, RED Products, AIDS FREE GENERATION, Bobby Shriver, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, Malaria for HIV/AIDS, HIV-free generation, Shane Smith the founder of VICE Magazine, Cannes LionHeart, LionHeart

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