Every now and then, U2 will rub people the wrong way with a promotional effort. Most notably, back in 2014, they upset a lot of iPhone users when they teamed up with Apple to put their then-new album Songs Of Innocence in every iTunes user’s library, whether they wanted it or not. Now, Bono and company have once again left people scratching their heads, this time with their Super Bowl ad from last night (February 12).
In the cryptic 15-second spot, a giant spherical object hovers over various areas as a news reporter says in a voiceover, “An unidentified object has been spotted over the skies.” In the end, the ad is revealed to be for U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere, the band’s upcoming residency at new Las Vegas venue MSG Sphere at The Venetian.
While Super Bowl ad campaigns are usually planned months in advance, the timing of this one was certainly peculiar, given the recent media coverage of flying objects like the Chinese spy balloon from earlier this month. Furthermore, the ad even has brief glimpses of what appears to be the actual balloon.
This is a screenshot at around 5 seconds of the U2 SuperBowl ad. That is the “Chinese Spy Balloon” from last week. Either U2’s marketing team has poor, yet viral taste. Or U2 cost the US Gov a lot of people. Wtf.. video here: https://t.co/AsRZfWOXAf pic.twitter.com/EJzi4kRWT0
— Chase (@Chase7601) February 13, 2023
(Coincidentally, the Lockheed U-2 is a type of reconnaissance aircraft and as ABC-7 Chicago recently noted, “Pentagon sources say United States U2 spy planes were used to photograph the Chinese balloon in flight so intelligence teams could see how the foreign equipment operates, and whether there was a threat to national security.”)
Of course, this all led people to joke that perhaps it was not China, but U2, behind the spy balloon.
I’M SORRY DID U2 JUST ANNOUNCE THAT THE BALLOONS WERE A PR CAMPAIGN
— Lorie Liebig (@lorieliebig) February 13, 2023
SHOOT DOWN THE U2 BALLOON https://t.co/XXOPmsBH3n
— Ingenuous Firebrand (@ING2Firebrand) February 13, 2023
wait was the spy balloon actually U2
— color temperature (@itscolortemp) February 13, 2023
The band also shared a longer version of the ad; Find that below. They also shared a new version of Achtung Baby hit “One” from their upcoming album Songs Of Surrender, so check that out below as well.