16th September 2014
Investing in the intangible – Filmmaker Jeremy Gilley achieves the impossible
Filmmaker & former actor, Jeremy Gilley has demonstrated that there are no limits to his business prowess in the art of persuasion. The Peace One Day founder has persuaded the President of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to close one of the country’s major airports to host a concert for Peace Day on 21 September, an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence – an impressive feat for an intangible concept which has managed to secure financial backing and forge significant business alliances with international brands including Unilever, Coca-Cola, the Lotus F1 Team, Greif, McKinsey & Company, British Airways and Skype.
The annual Peace One Day concert will be headlined, on Peace Day 21 September 2014, by one of the biggest stars across Africa, Akon, who will help to deliver the message of Peace One Day to millions via a multi-platform delivery across digital, mobile, radio and television broadcasts, linking the city of Goma, the DRC and Great Lakes region with the rest of the world.
Gilley, a visionary social entrepreneur who has been supported by a number of celebrity friends, including actors Jude Law and Angelina Jolie, has convinced international companies such as Coca-Cola, and Unilever to support the cause. In an attempt to create a more robust business model, Gilley was supported by Unilever CEO Paul Polman in launching a formal Corporate Coalition membership structure in 2013. Coca-Cola will be featuringPeace One Day messaging across numerous media channels including outdoor, online and 60 second TV spots throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in September to support Peace One Day’s 3-year campaign in the DRC and Great Lakes region of Africa, made possible through a $10 million donation by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation.
In explaining how recognition of a day of peace has a tangible impact on human behaviour, Gilley uses the analogy of Mother’s day to explain, “On Mother’s Day, we all change our behaviour. We visit our mum, send flowers, and are generally more appreciative. We’re noticing that the same is true on Peace Day. People are beginning to change their behaviour.”
This latest agreement follows a succession of high-level negotiations commencing in 2001, where Gilley persuaded all United Nations member states to sign up to an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September – Peace Day, earning the support of world figures including the late Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anan and His Holiness the Dalai Lama who personally wrote to 14 heads of states, including Tony Blair.
Whilst achieving a day of peace is at the forefront of the message delivered by companies wishing to support the campaign, the business benefits have also been attractive to companies such as Unilever who have coined the slogan, “Make love, not war” in its campaign across 50 countries to promote its new Peace variant of Axe/Lynx.
Kruger Cowne client and award-winning campaigner, Jeremy’s impressive negotiations have generated significant media attention for Peace Day which, according to global consultancy McKinsey & Company, was a message carried to approximately half a billion people in 2013, with projections of reaching 1.5 billion people this year. By the time the Buffet relationship ends in 2016, Gilley predicts that he will have reached 3 billion people with the message of Peace Day.