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U2’s Brilliant Cause Marketing

While 65,000 people partied outside Giants Stadium and flowed into the traveling spectacle known as “The 360 Tour” on September 25th…

I couldn’t help but notice the intense level of email address gathering by a highly motivated army of volunteers.

U2 show

Trolling the parking lot on behalf of Amnesty International and One (a group dedicated to ending hunger in Africa – one of Bono’s key platforms), this group was wildly enthusiastic. Effective email marketing and community building is the lifeblood of cost-conscious non-profits. Building a list is the critical first step to an effective campaign of engagement, community building and awareness. This group was hitting it hard.

I’ve been to more than my fair share of stadium shows over the years and the volunteers are always well intentioned, but half-hearted. So what’s was going on? Beyond pushing the envelope with its otherworldly crustacean-like stage set-up, U2 used its influence and deity-like status to make a difference — and help market the hell out of these organizations and grow their email lists. The volunteers were armed with laptops for efficient processing. They handed out wrist bands to everyone who gave an email address to take advantage of fans’ desires to be part of Bono’s “community.”

The volunteers snaked their way through the tailgates, dodged footballs and stepped over beers bottles, focused on the task at hand, motivated by the chance of a lifetime. About mid-way through the 2.5 hour show, a number of these volunteers – likely those that gathered the most email addresses – were marched out on the gargantuan stage – about a minute-plus walk (yes, the stage was that big)– and stood, side-by-side with U2, under the glare of the spotlight, in the middle of Giants Stadium, with their images broadcast on the 60 foot wrap around video monitors, as Bono thanked them directly.

It’s one thing to support a cause – or put your heart and soul into your business. It’s another to think so wildly beyond status quo and put a system in place so effective to make a huge impact. Dare to think big. Shatter convention. Embrace social media and experiential marketing. Great things just might happen.