Remember how, last week, DMN reported on TBWA Chiat Day’s “rebellious” campaign Artists vs. Artists? The campaign used the slogan Piracy is Progress, and attempted to pin artists against artists on the issue of piracy with the financial backing of American Eagle Outfitters. Well, yesterday, the cryptically named Horse and Cow Society launched its own campaign: Artists vs. American Eagle.
While it’s clear where Chiat Day stands on piracy (according to its website, “It’s better to be the pirates than the navy”), there seemed to have been some initial confusion about American Eagle’s involvement. The company’s marketing coordinator, Brad Spang, told MusicTechnologyPolicy that neither he nor the company are affiliated with Chiat Day’s pro-piracy campaign. “Someone” had simply purchased the ad space above the American Eagle store in Times Square, but that he didn’t know who it was.
When speaking to the New York Times, however, the company said they had offered Brooklyn band Ghost Beach, who were part of the campaign, access to its Times Square billboard in return for using one of the band’s songs in an online ad. A company spokeswoman told the newspaper the group’s use of the billboard was worth $50,000 (I assume the band will include this information when they file their taxes?).
Yet, after speaking to MTP and NYT, American Eagle had their credit removed from Chiat Day’s press release for the campaign.
Whatever way they choose to skin this cat, what’s clear is that American Eagle is financially supporting a pro-piracy campaign — and Artists vs. American Eagle is calling them on it.
The group has copied the American vs Artists site, even the colour palette, down to a T, except that the sides you’re asked to choose between are #AGAINSTSHOPLIFTAEO and #FORSHOPLIFTAEO.
It also substitutes the banner “Piracy is” for “Shoplifting from American Eagle Outfitters is”, while the rotating words underneath it are the same. This leads to some amusing results, such as “Shoplifting from American Eagle Outfitters is our generation” and “Shoplifting from American Eagle is sharing”.
I also particularly like the tweets featured on the site:
“What does the future look like? Can we adapt to not having the Grammys as an account? #AgainstShopliftAEO”
“Well as I said in India stopping theft hinders our profit er i mean innovation so I guess I’m #forShopliftAEO”
“American Eagle should not worry about shoplifting. They should concentrate on being excellent. Besides I need a new vest. #forShopliftAEO”
So, who is the Horse and Cow Society? If you click on the name a window pops up that says:
“This is a parody of the highly cynical Artists vs Artists campaign running on the American Eagle Outfitters electronic billboard in Times Square, The Time Square campaign was designed by Madison Avenue Firm TBWA Chiat Day. Our campaign is intended to illustrate there are not two “reasonable” sides when it comes to the issues of exploiting artists without compensation. Just as there are not two sides to the idea of shoplifting, child labor and human trafficking. As parody and as political speech this site is protected by the first amendment. So chill the f-ck out y’all.”
Even if it wasn’t a parody and political speech I’m sure Chiat Day and American Eagle wouldn’t mind, as ignoring intellectual property rights is just “progress”.
Update: Ghost Beach has now confirmed that their official stance is with #artistsagainstpiracy…