PR Play of the Week: Bono holds bank's ear, bank gets PR

There's little a global bank hates more than a rock star whining about its unfair money-lending practices. But bankers and rockers have more in common than they used to, and a PR Play of the Week is in the offing.

There's little a global bank hates more than a rock star whining about its unfair money-lending practices. But bankers and rockers have more in common than they used to, and a PR Play of the Week is in the offing.

There's little a global bank hates more than a rock star whining about its unfair money-lending practices. But bankers and rockers have more in common than they used to, and a PR Play of the Week is in the offing.

For the last few years DC-based World Bank has listened to Bono, singer for the Irish band U2, admonish it, the International Monetary Fund and the world's richest nations for not forgiving the crushing debt of the poorest countries.

Bono is chairman and spokesperson for Jubilee 2000, a British-based initiative urging creditors to forgo collecting dollars 300 billion from nations that can't even meet their own healthcare and education needs. He has lobbied Congress and foreign leaders, met with the Pope, hobnobbed at the UN and largely been the kind of bleeding heart that bankers regard coldly through their gold-rimmed spectacles.

When he first met World Bank president James Wolfensohn, Bono told him he didn't like him. But the bank has come around to the notion of debt forgiveness, and now Bono calls Wolfensohn one of the grooviest money-men he knows.

The bank, seeing a wraparound-shade-sort of kindred spirit and sensing the potential for civil disturbances at its annual meeting with the IMF in Prague, invited Bono to participate. A bank spokesman says critics are often invited to conferences. When one of those critics is a world-famous rock star who has collected 21 million signatures supporting debt relief (Guinness thinks the petition might hold a record), even the old gray bank can see the value of a double-breasted silk embrace.

Nominations for PR Play of the Week should be sent to news@prweekus.com.



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