A few weeks back, Volkswagen released a British commercial using music that sounded an awful lot like Beach House’s “Take Care,” but was not in fact Beach House’s “Take Care.” (This happens a lot.) Fans cried foul, and the Baltimore duo took to Facebook for a polite protest: “The ad agency actively tried to license ‘take care’ from us for weeks, to which we politely declined. People’s comments/ anger should not be directed towards VW or us. It was the ad agency that made these moves.” The Facebook post also promised a “proper statement” in due time, so cue the competing articles in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal this week.
The gist of both pieces is yes, the ad agency in question (DDB) really wanted to use “Take Care” in the Volkswagen ad, and when the band declined, citing concerns over the concept, DDB hired a production team named Sniffy Dog to write a knockoff song. There’s also this particularly damning e-mail:
“In early May, [Natalie Hill, the ad’s producer] sent an email to [Beach House manager Jason Foster] saying, “I’d be happy to jump on a call, fly someone to the U.S., offer more money and listen to anything you have to say.”
Both articles highlight the legal difficulties in making any sort of case against the ad agency, despite what Beach House feels (and common sense indicates) is straight copycatting. So, just boycott all British commercials from now on, we guess?