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Editors Note: ‘And in Our World of Plenty, We Can Spread a Smile of Joy …’

4 Mar, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response

Thomas Haire“Music is something I must do, business is something I need to do, and Africa is something I have to do.”

— Sir Bob Geldof

On February 18, the Response team announced that Sir Bob Geldof, one of the world’s best known musicians and activists, would keynote Response Expo 2010 on Tuesday, May 11 in San Diego.

While Geldof’s appearance in San Diego is clearly a game changer when it comes to event speakers in direct response marketing — never before has an event in our business featured a speaker who was so well known on the world stage for so many different things, but also still capable of touching directly on the business we all work in — it is also a moment of huge significance for me.

Obviously, for the entire Response team — and the keynote sponsor, Euro RSCG Edge — this is one of the proudest moments in each of our careers. More personally significant, however, is the satisfaction — more than two decades in the making — of being directly involved with someone like Geldof. After all, my family has been a huge supporter of his efforts on behalf of the hungry and poverty-stricken in Africa since I was 13 years old.

From late 1984, when Geldof founded the Band Aid Charitable Trust and brought together some of the world’s most famous recording artists to create holiday classic “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” I have been transfixed by Geldof’s passion and commitment to fairness and human compassion when it comes to the suffering of millions. From buying that record — my sister still has the 12-inch vinyl single — to sending regular charitable donations to Geldof’s causes (including during both the 1985 Live Aid and 2005 Live8 events), the Haire family has a proud and lengthy record of supporting Geldof’s work.

Now, like anyone with their own strong set of opinions and beliefs, I have not agreed across the board with Geldof’s work, his politics or his often edgy public comments. And I am sure that he, of all people, would never expect blanket agreement with his thoughts and opinions. However, what is unquestionable about the man is his total, unwavering commitment to doing what he thinks is right.

Another thing that’s become unquestionable about him in recent years is that his public speaking appearances have become legendary. Brimming with knowledge and the confidence of his convictions, yet self-effacing and irreverent, Geldof has awed and inspired audiences around the world.

If it’s not yet clear, I’m excited about what’s going to go down at 5:30 p.m. on May 11 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. It promises to not only be a great moment for myself, Response and the direct response marketing business — but it’s also likely to be a transformative moment for more than a few attendees. Be there!

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