Monday, December 17, 2007

This thing Bono told me one time

Last week, rumors blew through that both founders of Product (RED) were in K.C. to see all the cards and stuff we created for Hallmark (RED) and celebrate the launch. Well, it wasn't the first time for such rumors, so some people didn't bother to go out to the big pep rally on Friday afternoon at the far end of Hallmark world. I almost didn't, with a deadline to meet on my last day at work for the year. But (RED) was my favorite project of 2007, and I figured, well, at least Bobby Shriver will be there. He's come in before.

It was standing-room only, probably 250 people crammed into the room. And there was Bobby Shriver with the (RED) business people and his own rock-star charisma. And we saw a video montage of the print ad campaign, billboard in Times Square, news coverage and all the media buzz with Oprah, etc., and a slice of the promotional video with my "believe in a thousand impossible things" card. And Bobby et al. spoke about how impressive our creative approach to (RED) has been, and how much it means to have these products distributed in more than 3000 Hallmark stores.

And then freakin' BONO walked in. Singing.

I'm dreaming of a RED Christmas
With every Christmas card I write...
May your days be merry and bright (or something else instead)
And may all your Christmases be RED

And we all went mildly apeshit. Then Bono (cuz we hang out) talked for about 15 minutes, mostly about the effect of the money we're directing into the Global Fund, how it really works on the ground. A couple of stories he told were the kind of thing that put a lump in your throat. He talked about a conversation he'd had with a Holocaust survivor who'd assured him that it wasn't overstepping to compare the AIDS epidemic in Africa with the Holocaust. This survivor had talked about his recurring nightmare of being loaded onto a train as a child, and how the image that kept coming back was not of the camp he'd been sent to, but of the train-loading moment, the bystanders' stares, the looks on the faces of people who felt they couldn't help, watching as the Jews were herded into the boxcars. Bono finished this story by saying that the work we were doing in service of Africans trying to survive was the equivalent of lying down on the tracks to keep the trains from moving. He called Hallmark a "heroic company" for doing it.

Well, you don't get that kind of inspiration every day. And although a lot of people made Hallmark (RED) possible, I insist, again, that it never would have happened without the unflagging effort of fellow writer Sarah Mueller, who started this push to support the Global Fund before (RED) even existed. (Plus, how can I have a post about Bono and not mention his most ardent fan?)

So. I'll post that promotional video again, only this time, I'm pulling it off of YouTube, so it gets the hits there.

It's what my pal Bono would want.