U2 frontman Bono made waves earlier this week when, during the course of a Cannes Lions presentation, he seemingly lambasted Apple for not being more vocal about its role in (Product) RED.
"Apple is so f*cking annoyingly quiet about the fact they've raised $75 million," Bono explained.
Adweek further described Bono's palpable frustration at Apple's reluctance to put the RED branding on its products.
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."
Naturally, the arrows flung in Bono's direction came quick, with many noting that Bono complaining about branding issues was distasteful given all the money Apple has helped raise for the (RED) cause.
In light of all this, the (RED) blog today published a post thanking Apple for its work to raise money to fight against AIDS while also downplaying Bono's comments as nothing more than Bono attempting to joke around.
During the session, Bono teased Jony about Apple's modesty and reluctance to take credit for its charitable work, including the whopping $75 million Apple has donated to the fight against AIDS through its partnership with (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. Bono and all of us at (RED) are so grateful to Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Jony Ive and the entire Apple team for the game-changing impact they have made for (RED) and the fight against this disease.
Say what you will about Bono's recent comments, but the frontman has historically been quick to defend Steve Jobs whenever the Apple co-founder's charitable efforts were called into question. Back in September of 2011, for example, Bono was quick to defend Jobs in the wake of a New York Times article critical of Jobs' seeming reluctance to donate money to charity.
Bono fired back a letter to the editor which read in part:
As a founder of (Product)RED, I'd like to point out that Apple's contribution to our fight against AIDS in Africa has been invaluable. Through the sale of (RED) products, Apple has been (RED)'s largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - giving tens of millions of dollars that have transformed the lives of more than two million Africans through H.I.V. testing, treatment and counseling. This is serious and significant. And Apple's involvement has encouraged other companies to step up.
Steve Jobs said when we first approached him about (RED), "There is nothing better than the chance to save lives."