Win Butler had addressed criticism over the band’s Reflektor graffiti marketing campaign in a handwritten letter.
In the run-up to the announcement of their new single, which was released on Monday (September 9), a mysterious ‘Reflektor‘ logo decorated buildings, pavements, food stalls and monuments around the world. The band were later revealed to be behind the campaign.
In an article for Slate, writer Ian Dille explains that he wife works at a print framing shop in Austin, Texas, where the graffiti randomly appeared one day. This week it was replaced with posters promoting the single, which was when Dille said he felt “used” that the graffiti art was nothing more than a marketing stunt for the band.
“I’m not just saying that because my wife’s boss spent hours cleaning the posters and paste off the wall,” he writes. “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 continues: “But the band’s vandalism – er, “guerrilla marketing” –seems, in contrast, decidedly immature, or at the very least socially irresponsible.”
In response to the article, Win Butler sent Dille a handwritten note to apologise. “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,” he writes. Read the letter in full here.