Deals: U2 & Blackberry
The world's most famous band is headed back on tour for the first time in three years and this time they're taking they're taking their crackberries with them. The 360 World Tour, which will include 14 U.S. cities in the summer of this year, announced that Blackberry will headline their tour as the top sponsor as one component of a deeper strategic partnership, which presumably will include exclusive product integration, licensing and music distribution components. Seems like just yesterday Apple was pushing their sleek red and black "U2 iPod." In fact, it's been five years since pop icon Bono and guitarist The Edge joined Apple's even more ubiquitous Steve Jobs on stage to promote the company's special edition U2 iPod. Since then, UMG and U2 relationship appeared to have soured based on the perception that they were ensnared by the "golden handcuffs" of iTunes' copyright protection policy.
This is a case where the partnership is clearly not about awareness - both the brand and the band already have leading global mindshare. In a time when consumers demand to see a cause component to sports and entertainment spending, U2 and Bono should bring some serious heart and soul back to the blackberry brand. U2's charitable endeavors, like (Red), are well documented. For U2, the partnership will not only provide an additional medium to support their charitable interests, but also an opportunity to take back control from that, which they ceded to Apple iTunes, this time through a shared vision for music distribution on the Blackberry platform.
From a sponsorship standpoint, very excited to see how two of the most innovative brands of our time activate this partnership. We might even have to do a little reconnaissance on your behalf when the tour rolls through NYC. : )