CANNES, France — U2 frontman Bono both cajoled and entertained a packed audience at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity Saturday before being given a humanitarian award.
The festival presented the rock star with its inaugural Cannes LionHeart award, which recognizes a person or organization "that, through innovative use of commercial brand power, has made a significant and positive difference to people or the planet."
During a presentation earlier in the day, attendees laughed as he told colorful tales about two separate disagreements he had: one with Apple's Steve Jobs and the other with his bandmate Edge.
Bono also talked seriously about how he needed assistance in raising money for his AIDS-fighting organization (RED).
"I really want to implore you all to help us with this," he told the audience, which was filled with communications specialists in town for the marketing industry's biggest awards competition and trade show.
"This is the most important room for (RED) to ever be in," he said.
Bono co-founded the organization in 2006 as a way to get businesses and consumers involved in the battle against AIDS. The project has raised more than $250 million, according to the organization's website.
Bono repeatedly urged those in the audience to share marketing and product ideas that could help (RED) get more funding and attention.
He stressed the urgency of combating AIDS, as well as emphasized that his charity's efforts were vital to keeping people alive. "Eight thousand (people) dying every day isn't a cause," he
Toward the end of the presentation, Bono turned to the crowd to let them know that (RED) representatives would collect the business cards of those who wanted to help. VICE Media CEO Shane Smith, who moderated the conversation with Bono and Apple's senior vice president of design, Jonathan Ive, left the stage and went out to the audience to solicit ideas. said. "It's an emergency."
Earlier, Smith said that VICE would create a home shopping-like channel to sell (RED)-branded products.
Bono, an engaging speaker with lots of personality, also shared details about sometimes-heated conversations that related to his (RED) efforts.
He talked of how he and Apple's Jobs fought over how the parentheses associated with (RED) should be used with Apple's brand name in their partnership. "We actually had a bit of a fight about this," said Bono, colorfully re-enacting parts of the argument the two me
n had over the phone.
Bono also said his association with Republican politicians such as former president George W. Bush and former senator Jesse Helms irked his bandmates. Guitarist Edge was very disturbed by Bono meeting with the conservative Helms. Bono said he met with Helms to provide information about what was going on with the AIDS crisis.