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.


scotland said...

Dear James, Glad to hear your on furlough, and share your (Red) excitement. There's truth to the Holocost analogy you shared. The tendency for individuals to follow the group even when it is a blatant,horrible crime,has proven itself to be a failing all to common throughout the disasters of human history. Sufis understand this as a group ego,which can become such a monster that it requires great mastery not to succumb to its influence. I again applaud the effort which Hallmark can now represent. Asalam-a-leicum
Mevlana would not be dissapointed if you took time for a quick turn this day,a spin around the block. At the center of revolution there is a place that remains motionlessly elevated.
Have some wine and dance till you drop. Love to you and yours. Scotland

Sarah M. said...

Hi Jim! Wasn't it an incredible day? It was KILLING me to not just yell out the minute I stepped into the Collab -- BONO IS COMING!! It was a serious test of my secret-keeping abilities. Your recap was perfect, and thank you for the shout out. I took the NextPressions binder with that very first Give=Live proposal to the meeting right before the Rice Center party, when we got to show Bono and the RED crew our product. They gave me a few minutes to tell the story of how RED came to be, so I gave an abbreviated version in which I managed to name drop the Collaboratory and have a little moment where Bono and I both raised our white-banded fists in ONE Campaign solidarity. It was seriously surreal. I've got the binder back, and somebody circled a paragraph in it, and I'm thinking since I gave it to Bono first, and he was indeed in possession of a pen, we should just assume the Collab is now the proud owner of a Bono-marked project binder. I'll be back in town on Thursday, and we should celebrate this addition to our library : )

coloredsock said...

ohhhkaaay, i just have to say that this (Red) and the visit with Bono! (oh my) marks the VERY FIRST TIME i've thought it'd be cool to work at HK (again) since i left in feb, 2002. working on that must change know, you feel like you are really able to help the world in a super positive way WITH your greeting cards...(other than, of course, helping people to express themselves and connect...) xo to you! although i love my life, i miss my HK friends. (sigh) thanks for sharing!

Jasph said...

Why don't I post more often? I get the best comments of any blog I know.

Sarah baby! I looked for you after the shindig, but you must've been whisked away as quickly as Bono himself. Anyway, your name is legion and your flame is eternal. One of the biggest thrills of my long, long career has been to watch you do what I myself could not: help the company find its conscience. You're truly an inspiration.

Scott: I think you called right as I was getting ready to go, y'know, hang out with Bono. Thanks for the good thoughts.

And Jen! I was going to send you a holiday card but couldn't find your address anywhere. So good to hear from you and I hope our paths cross this year. Congrats on the book.......

Anonymous said...

Well, Jim,
I don't recall what I was doing that day but that was the day the forces of kindness and caring got a real boost, rouind the world. Your card on believing a thousand possible things gives my tired old heart a boost, suffering as it has since December 12, 2000--the day the US Supreme Ct stuck its nose into the national election process, aiding and abetting the pilfering of an election. I have some hope for the world, partly because of your poetic gifts. Keep 'em stirring!

Anonymous said...

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