Bank of America partners with U2 and (Red) to deliver a powerful brand gesture

BOA Bono and U2 join RED

Yesterday, Bank of America proudly gave U2 fans not only a free copy of the band’s new single, but also the opportunity to influence how much money the bank contributes to the fight for an AIDS free generation.

It’s a powerful brand gesture that will significantly help the (Red) cause but is also great for the Bank of America brand.

U2 and BOA join RED campaign

With many of the big banks still struggling to shift negative perceptions post the GFC, BOA continues to show why they are one of the most valuable bank brands. Giving the public something for free and in return, making the bank pay for it, will definitely appeal to many – especially as the money goes to a good cause.

Partnering with U2, one of the world’s biggest rock bands, renown for their social activism simply adds to the campaign’s strength.

Bank of America Red campaign

BOA is expected to contribute $10-12 million to the (Red) campaign but the exact amount will depend on the amount of song downloads. For 24 hours, Bank of America pledged to donate $1 for every song download, up to $2 million total to the global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

What is also impressive is the bank’s brand influence convincing others to join the cause. The Gates Foundation, SAP and Africa’s Motsepe Family have matched BOA with in excess of $22 million being raised for the (Red) campaign.

Even more important, while this is an extremely high profile CSR initiative, is not just a one off publicity stunt. The bank has a genuine and long-term CSR programme that is at the heart of the BOA brand.

While the payback for Bank of America’s brand from its CSR programmes might not be always easy to quantify, this one is certainly driving significant positive brand PR. With millions talking about this initiative, the real brand value may be how the bank is standing out from its peers and strengthening brand connections, beyond traditional borders and typical transactional relationships.

Michael Hughes
Strategy Director and Partner

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