Some insight on Arcade Fire’s Marketing Of “Reflektor”


I wanted to take the time to do a bit of a case study for you all so you can notice the value and importance of Marketing your brand and music.

Chances are you’ve heard of the band Arcade Fire.  Their recent album “Reflektor” has charted at #1 in both the  Canada and the U.S. seemingly over night.  The campaign for the “Reflektor” album has also birthed a new term ‘Arcade Fire Marketing’.  Within the month before the album came out the Arcade Fire had generated a substantial amount of hype for the album.  Some are saying it’s a new form of marketing, but it doesn’t differ from alot of bands market strategies aside from one thing; propaganda.  Let’s review some of the things AF did in order to build this up.

Starting early in September Arcade Fire launched a massive campaign of chalk graffitti bearing the “Reflektor” emblem in major cities around the world including Sydney, London and Chicago to name a few.  This became the album’s brand.  The graffitti seemed like nothing more than vandalism until AF tweeted a picture of the emblem announcing that their new album “Reflektor” was out on Oct. 29th.  People started tagging their own streets with the emblem, posting pictures on twitter, instagram and facebook.







To follow, Arcade Fire released a string of teaser video’s using some of the tracks from the album.  Towards the launch of the album Arcade Fire held a secret concert in Montreal with a dress code of either formal attire or costume.  Again all of the social media was accounted for the next day and most people didn’t hear about the show until the following day.

Next, they released their first single and title track “Reflektor” that featured never before mentioned vocals by David Bowie.  A few weeks later Arcade Fire were set to perform on Saturday Night Live with an added bonus TV special to broadcast afterwards.  The TV special, which was directed by Roman Coppola, included cameo’s from James Franco, Ben Stiller, Bono and Michael Cera.  The band hosted  two more secret concerts adorning a dress code of formal wear and costume requirements in Brooklyn a few days later.

The thing that Arcade Fire has done different was make mainstream publicity look like guerrilla marketing.  They took the same practices used in marketing, i.e. branding, publicity, teasers, tv, media, etc. and added somewhat of a quirky twist in a way only Arcade Fire could think up. From the emblem’s posted in major cities, to the seldom information given about the album, AF managed to build a culture of people wanting to know more about the new album, while not fully understanding what was happening.  Almost all of the publicity stunts AF used have been done before but the genius was in the delivery.  The balance of info given and with-held made the “Reflektor” campaign very successful.

Take these small tips and consider them when marketing your project, they were stretching the normal and making people talk. And boy did they talk! You need to start thinking outside the box, and brining new ideas to the table for this rapidly changing industry.


Posted in: Artist Advice, Independent Music News, Uncategorized.