Jony Ive presenting Bono with Cannes LionHeart Award
Apple’s SVP of Design Jony Ive joined U2 pop star and activist Bono in a joint interview over the weekend at the Cannes Lions Festival to discuss Product Red and Apple’s partnership as we previously mentioned. Product Red, of course, partners with brands to raise money to fund AID/HIV programs in Africa, and Apple has long supported the effort with a number of Red-branded products including iPhone and iPad cases as well as iPods and iPod touches.
As part of the festival, Jony Ive presented Bono with the first Cannes LionHeart Award to honor his work with Product Red as you can see above. During the discussion segment of their appearance, Bono shared his account of working with Steve Jobs when establishing the Product Red partnership with Apple and Jobs’ desire to control the Product Red branding right down to the parentheses in the Product Red logo…
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As the story goes from Bono’s account, Jobs was an early believer in the Product Red initiative but did not want to display the parentheses from the Product Red branding, (RED) or (Product) RED. Bono made the case that the parentheses served to united the various companies that partner with Product Red and argued it was the branding of Product Red. Jobs, according to Bono, agreed to participate in Product Red but said Apple would not use the parentheses.
After an exchange over email and phone, Steve Jobs conceded to using the (Product) RED and (RED) logo, parentheses and all, on products under the partnership, but the parentheses would never be featured in the Apple Store as a compromise. Bono said that approach is still in tact to this day.
Interestingly, Bono was discussing with Jobs a logo built by brand consultant Wolff Olins headed by Karl Heiselman, who is now an Apple employee under SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller after joining in May, bringing the (Product) RED and (RED) story full circle and in-house at Apple.
The festival has not yet shared video of the full interview with Bono and Jony Ive from over the weekend, only the highlight clip seen above featuring Bono recalling his experience with Steve Jobs, but AdWeek has an interesting account of another Bono segment.
“One of the reasons it’s such a credit to have Jony Ive on the stage,” Bono told panel moderator and Vice CEO Shane Smith, “is because Apple is so fucking annoyingly quiet about the fact they’ve raised $75 million. Nobody knows!”
Bono went so far as to stand up, pull out an official (Red) iPad cover and remove the device, illustrating to the audience that the only actual nod to the nonprofit was inside the cover and therefore always obscured 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.”
AdWeek’s account of what happened next depicts Apple’s Jony Ive as hardly conceding to Bono’s point that Apple doesn’t feature the Product Red branding prominently enough. Instead, Ive pointed to Apple’s increasing participating with Product Red.
“We started in 2006 with one (Red) product, a Nano, and now we’ve got well over half a dozen,” Ive said. “It’s been really, really special for us.”
This portion will be especially interesting to watch on video, and we’ll share it of course as soon as the festival makes it available.
More from Bono at the Cannes Lions Festival below: