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Creative Marketing Builds Buzz for New Arcade Fire Release, But Will Album Warrant the Hype?


October 16, 2013

Early rumblings suggest that Arcade Fire’s new album, “Reflektor,” due out on Oct. 29, might become the indie rock band’s most successful release to date. Rolling Stone magazine called the album one of the “turning-point classics such as U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ and Radiohead’s ‘Kid A.’” As BusinessWeek reports, the Montreal-based group’s hotly anticipated record is being promoted with mainstream publicity disguised as guerrilla marketing — including secret concerts that only people wearing costumes or formal attire can attend, ads written in sidewalk chalk, and other oddities and innovations.

In early September, chalk graffiti appeared on walls in London, Sydney, Chicago and other major cities around the world, followed by Arcade Fire posters bearing the same cross-hatched diamond design. In the most traditional aspect of the campaign, the band performed new songs on “Saturday Night Live,” followed by a 30-minute special on NBC that included live footage, inter-song vignettes hosted by the Canadian actor Michael Cera, and brief cameos by celebrities like James Franco, Ben Stiller and Bono.

But despite the hype, and the fact that  Billboard agrees with Spin and Pitchfork.com that the new album is “Arcade Fire’s boldest, most sonically adventurous album yet,” Reflektor’s eponymous first single has landed at No. 99 on the Billboard Hot 100. — Greg Beaubien



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