Bono, Shane Smith, and Jony Ive at Cannes Lions Festival

Bono, Shane Smith, and Jony Ive at Cannes Lions Festival

Earlier this week, we noted Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive and U2 pop star Bono made a joint appearance at the Cannes Lions Festival to discuss Apple and Product Red’s partnership in raising funds for AIDS/HIV programs in Africa. During that appearance, Bono pointed out with Jony Ive on stage that Apple does not prominently display the Product Red logo on the products that support the effort, according to AdWeek’s account of the event (the full video has not been made available and the clip showing Bono relaying another story on Steve Jobs has since been made private):

“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 began that bit saying that Apple is “f*cking annoyingly quiet about the fact they’ve raised $75 million.” Product Red followed up today on Bono’s position, though, toning down the nature of Bono’s comments in a blog post thanking Apple for its partnership and the success of Product Red:

In a reminder that humor doesn’t always travel out of context, some of Bono’s teasing and faux outrage at Apple’s modesty were reported as actual criticism of the company. Nothing could be further from the truth of course. Bono has been one of Apple’s biggest supporters, pushing back publicly on those who have made negative assumptions about the company’s charitable work, simply because they don’t shout it from the rooftops. That modesty is their right, and in many ways admirable.

In the blog post, Product Red notes that the effort has raised $250 million to fight AIDS with partners including Starbucks and Coca-Cola. Apple, which Product Red says is its biggest partner, has donated $75 million to the cause through its partnership with Product Red.

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19 Responses to “Product Red thanks Apple for partnership, clarifies Bono’s comments at Cannes Lions appearance”

  1. Ohhh I get it… Bono going off the rails was just a misunderstood joke, like Donald Sterling. He’s a misunderstood comedian too.


  2. I seriously hope this was Bono’s twisted sense of humour, because it sure seemed to me he was trying to bite the hand that feeds him, not cool Bono!


  3. Bono is a tasteless, disagreeable hack that hasn’t done anything creative or interesting for decades.

    Raising a lot of money for charity is a good thing of course, but many people around the world do the same thing and don’t demand the spotlight for it or hassle other people about it either.


  4. Arnold Ziffel says:

    Bono, Cher, the artist formerly known as what’s-his-name, etc. – they’re all overrated goobers who’ve received far more attention than they ever deserved.


  5. Ahh, comments, where turds come to roost. None of you people know Bono, and clearly no one has watched the video or know anything about what passes for journalism today. You’ve also clearly not seen the full range of Apple’s (RED) products.

    Yes, baselessly attack the man because you have your head up your ass.


    • rogifan says:

      Knee jerk reactions continue. I’m sure most of the faux outrage is coming from people who didn’t see the video and didn’t see that both Ive and the audience laughed at Bono’s comments. People need to stop being wound up so tight. Apple is finally becoming a bit looser, willing to make fun of itself from time to time. Maybe fans need to lighten up a bit too.


  6. rahhbriley says:

    Ya, rail on Bono if you will, but these comments never once seemed out of line to me. You may think he’s a douche for other reasons, but he was clearly being cheeky and having fun. You forget he’s pretty close with Apple and Ive? Friends take shots, that’s all this ever seemed like. I’m sure he’s extremely thankful for Apple’s involvement with his “Awareness Campaign.” Move on.


  7. observer1959 says:

    Damage Control to Major Bono….


  8. Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    Guess his comments riled some feathers. It was somewhat odd for him to openly criticize Apple (in front of Jony Ive, no less) for not publicizing how much they’ve done to contribute.


  9. It’s sad this press release was even necessary. Any so-called journalist that reported that Bono insulted Apple should be ashamed. Even without context, it was pretty obvious that Bono was praising the money and awareness they’ve raised, and poking fun at their “modesty”.

    If this wasn’t obvious to some tech bloggers, they could have avoided this embarrassment by:

    a) Watching the video of Bono’s remarks — it was clearly a joke.

    b) Watch any of the dozens of the speeches Bono has given that include praise for Apple, and provide clues to his sense of humor.

    c) Pull from memory or Google, that Bono was literally the first person in line to defend the late Steve Jobs when some journalists accused him of not being very charitable.


  10. charismatron says:

    We live in a world where we have to clarify one cultural giant making fun of another over their co-operation contributing to a charitable organization. Ah, well–it could be worse.


  11. aeronperyton says:

    So Bono went off the reservation and now Red is trying to clean up the mess he made? Shocker.

    Can we just get 90s With or Without You Bono back so we can have some more good rock music to listen to?


  12. wow great yes kick off lion…… aloha…..