Last week we covered the strange and divisive “Artists Vs Artists” campaign brought to you by American Eagle Outfitters and Madison Avenue firm TBWA Chiat Day. In case you’ve been in a cave for the last week this consisted of four story high LED billboards on the front of the American Eagle Outfitters store in Time Square. On these billboards provocative slogans like “Piracy is Freedom” and “Piracy Is Our Generation” were displayed. The related (Chiat Day registered and owned) website www.artistsvsartists.com mirrored the campaign.
Now as reported by Adland.tv and Digital Music News an anonymous group of artists has responded with their own campaign. “Artists VS American Eagle Outfitters.” The campaign parodies the original site and recycles the same “conversation starting statements” except “Piracy” is replaced with “Shoplifting From American Eagle Outfitters.” The fake twitter comments are a must read!
Overlooked in all of this has been the fact was that this campaign was partial compensation for the band Ghost Beach. The band had earlier supplied a song for an American Eagle promotion. American Eagle paid the band back by giving them the billboard space. In theory this billboard campaign was supposed to generate sales for Ghost Beach.
Personally I have empathy for the band. They are just trying to make a name for themselves in a very difficult time. But as usual when the artist’s agenda meets the corporate agenda the artist always gets buried. The band has become a footnote to the story. Despite some chatter in the tech blog echo chamber we can objectively conclude the campaign has generated little real engagement for Ghost Beach.
Above are publicly available metrics for Ghost Beach’s social media activity. In this case facebook likes. The big spike you see is generated by Ghost Beach’s touring activity on the west coast. On the right the solid line indicates the duration of the $50,000 Times Sq Billboard campaign which appears to have generated almost nothing for the artist
Younger acts don’t often don’t want advice from legacy artists like myself, but I’m gonna give them my two cents anyway: Touring is the most reliable way to engage fans and sell music. One wonders what $50,000 worth of tour promotion and support from American Eagle Outfitters would have done for the artist?
It is also rarely mentioned that the band itself Ghost Beach is Anti-Piracy. In a thoughtful statement the band clearly states on it’s website:
“In no way do we want to encourage theft of intellectual property.”
Whatever one thinks of this campaign, this fact has been lost in the story.
The other metrics generally agree. SoundCloud spins for Ghost Beach. To be fair there looks to be a small bump up after NY Times article which was clearly the result of the billboard campaign.
YouTube Views are always very “noisy” but this is trending down slightly. But I still like YouTube views cause they are now harder to manipulate then SoundCloud.
Twitter may show a spike almost as big as the one generated by their touring activity. But the twitter followers start from a very low number. So the spikes are a daily gain of a little over 30 twitter followers. Also after looking at the actual tweets it seems like this spike is just before the start of the billboard campaign and is more likely the result of their SXSW live showcase.