September 14, 2013


Arcade Fire's Win Butler Responds to "Reflektor" Graffiti Criticism

Credit: @reflektor on Instagram
Credit: @reflektor on Instagram

If Kanye West could gain worldwide buzz about his upcoming release by projecting his rapping head on tall buildings, then why would Arcade Fire think twice before rolling out a similar (ish) guerrilla marketing campaign?

Well, apparently the answer lies in whether or not they care about how local storeowners feel about graffiti. 

And after writer Ian Dille penned an article for Slate in which he copped to feeling "used" after his wife's shop was hit with graffiti art promoting the band's single "Reflektor," frontman, Win Butler, apologized.

In the article tittled "My Wife Was Vandalized by Arcade Fire," Dille, an unabashed Arcade Fire fan, wrote:

"Unlike a lot of people, who thought the graffiti campaign was ingenious, when I found out the logo was nothing but a commercial promotion I felt … used. Even—and maybe this is too harsh?—a little betrayed."
He further dissected what the marketing move meant for the (once indie darling) band on a whole.
"I'm not just saying that because my wife’s boss spent hours cleaning the posters and paste off the wall," he said.

"As Arcade Fire has achieved mainstream success, they’ve also struggled to maintain their indie appeal. How does a band preserve its counter-culture ethos when it’s on stage with industry stars accepting a Grammy for best album?

"Many bands have struggled with this problem, and Arcade Fire has generally handled it fairly well."

He concluded that "the band’s vandalism—er, “guerrilla marketing”—seems, in contrast, decidedly immature, or at the very least socially irresponsible."

For his part, Butler seemed genuinely shaken and quickly sent Dille a handwritten note.
"I'm really sorry your wife had to put up with that," he said. "The chalk campaign was supposed to echo with Haitan veve drawings that are done in chalk or in the dirt. It is sometimes hard to control all these tiny details when you are doing something on such a large scale.

"Hope to meet you at a show when we are in Austin."

"Reflektor" is pretty extraordinary, so right now doesn't seem like the best time to boycott the band without punishing yourself.

We hope Dille was happy to find out that Butler seems like a kind and decent human being—still a humble indie darling at heart.