Fans of the U.K. band The 1975 were forced to do a whip-lashing double take recently. Advertisements for the 2016 EU Referendum Voting Guide, which will decide whether Britain will leave or stay in the European Union, debuted featuring foggy moody streets, misty football fields and mossy woodlands as the setting to a massive pink neon Referendum sign. Seemingly a cool concept, right? One problem: it is eerily identical to the new visual aesthetic of the popular Manchester four-piece. Previously known for their signature black and white vibe. The band - lead by singer Matty Healy - completely revamped their style late last year to pink neon, white washes and moody scenery for their number one sophomore album I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware Of It which debuted in February. So did the British government simply find inspiration in the 1975 or is this a case of intellectual plagiarism?
Fans waited patiently for Matty Healy's response to the issue and on Monday, 23 May, he finally took to Twitter with a heated and entertaining thread of tweets. "How do you sue the Government??" he tweeted, followed by a retweet of the promo campaign video where the similarities are plain-as-day.
It becomes pretty clear that the line between inspiration and plagiarism were crossed after watching the 30-second advert. Healy's next tweet shed some light on how this could be so. In a retweet of a quoted tweet (a bit like Inception, I know) by the 1975's manager, a fan asked, "Also apparently the person who directed the entire campaign directed the settle down video [a track of their debut self-titled album]?" Manager Jamie Oborne confirmed the rumor saying, "This is true and we cannot believe it so disappointed. @AcademyFilms WTF?!?!" The director, Nadia Marquard Otzen, filmed the music video for "Settle Down" in January of 2014 and lead the EU Referendum campaign earlier this year. Many see the whole stolen identity as a play to persuade a large "impressionable" demographic. The 1975 is hands-down one of the most popular bands in not only the U.K. but the world.
Healy; however, then made light of the matter first stating that he "invented neon" then making U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron an enticing offer.
Hours later, the brother just wanted to catch up on his Game Of Thrones, "But WAY more importantly who's got a stream of GOT from last night!?!?" Then, he throws another offer about a Healy/Cameron collab. Finally, Healy took his followers back to the band's origins with a simple "1st June - the 1975", which is the journal date entry that inspired the band's name. But before leaving with the same tweet one last time, he did a bit of self-editing - for the sake of his life.
As the Referendum guides prepare to find their way into the homes of millions of Brits, the band members and fans alike continue to question the campaign's direction. But, more importantly, the questions concerning identity ownership and government propaganda still loom large.
I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful, Yet So Unaware Of It by the 1975 is available now. The EU Referendum Voting Guide will hit British homes June 7th.