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"[I]t's quite important that, if your audience is wrapping you, dressing you in the clothes of morality, you take them off. Because that's not the job of the artist.

-- Bono

@U2 home page

Column: off the record…, vol. 12-523

@U2, July 15, 2012
By: Tassoula E. Kokkoris


off the record, from @U2

As a social media manager in my day job, I'm constantly trying to come up with innovative ways to engage our audience through the most popular channels. Recently we launched a Pinterest page, so our ambassador team is now generating ideas for contests and ways we can have our clients participate in building (and enjoying) the boards.

As I was daydreaming in advance of our planning meeting, I began to wonder what types of boards the members of U2 would use if they were social media addicts like me.

My mind drifted first to The Edge -- since he likes to "collect data" per Bono's many concert announcements, I pictured him posting all sorts of cool equipment and technology (and then maybe alphabetizing them). For Larry I envisioned the different models of Harley-Davidson motorcycles he's ridden over the years. In Adam's case, I leaned more toward artsy items like the Persian carpets he's rumored to love, and for Bono, well, the possibilities are endless. Bono boards could include the various causes he's championed; humanitarian travel spots -- even a variety of fly shades.

It occurred to me that as a fan there's an opportunity to use Pinterest to collect tour memories or catalog memorabilia, etc. And then I wondered: how many of our @U2 readers already have boards dedicated to the band?

Check out the responses I've received so far (or post your own) in our @U2forum.

There was a blog post on RTE earlier this week that discusses bands selling out. The author notes several examples of groups that allegedly have, and mentions the U2 iPod commercial from a few years back, but neglects to note that no money changed hands for their appearance. In fairness, even if the band had taken payment for that spot, I wouldn't have counted it as selling out because they were ultimately selling their own music with that commercial. At the time they were releasing their special edition iPod and a catalog of rare music on iTunes, plus the Vertigo tour was on the horizon.

I also think that context has a lot to do with whether or not the use of music or a personality counts as selling out.

To this day I have trouble thinking of Nike in a happy way because of the company's use of "Revolution" by The Beatles in a shoe ad. It caused a huge stir at the time because not only was it a Beatles song, but it was one that had great political and social significance when it was first released, so many felt it tarnished that sentiment. I agree with those who felt that way.

That said, when I hear a song in a movie that's relevant to the time and story, which does not subtract from its original genius, I'm OK with it. One example that comes to mind is U2's "Zoo Station" from the film About A Boy. One of the characters is simply listening to the song when another is trying to get their attention from their doorstep. It's funny, realistic, and doesn't change the spirit of the song in any way, shape or form.

I don't know about all of you, but I think Bono and Ali might be the coolest parents out there.

Did you hear what they did for their daughter Eve's 21st birthday in Vegas? Yeah, they recorded a Lady Gaga song for her, sent some champagne to her table and then let her party with her friends the rest of the night.

Power to them for raising good kids who don't make the tabloids or exhibit spoiled-brat behavior.

© @U2/Kokkoris, 2012.

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