Panicked fans contacted record label after promotional pranks for The Shires
The country duo tricked fans in the build-up to the release of their third album, Accidentally On Purpose.
Country duo The Shires were left feeling a little guilty after a marketing ploy panicked fans.
Ahead of the release of their third album, the band played a series of tricks – including pretending to leak their album artwork and airing distorted TV adverts.
The pranks led to some fans contacting record label Decca in an effort to alert them.
Ben Earle, one half of The Shires with Crissie Rhodes, revealed he was bombarded with messages on social media and apologised to those who had fallen for the ploy.
“A couple we feel a bit bad about,” he told the Press Association.
“There’s always phishing scams out now so we felt quite bad really but a couple of fans called into the label and said ‘you know I’ve been sent this artwork and it should’ve been sent to the band and we don’t want this to get out’.
“It really worked in a lot of ways, but we felt bad and asked the label to reach out to them and say thanks very much.
“If you’d heard the phone calls, they were really heartfelt… we do want to apologise as well,” he added.
The trick saw a fictional marketing intern named Joe King pretend to leak the artwork for the upcoming album, Accidentally On Purpose, in an email to The Shires’ mailing list.
Rhodes said: “It was so sweet to hear them ringing in and messages just flooded in on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. We got direct messages as well as posts and my phone wouldn’t stop blowing up from friends and family.”
The album, released Friday, is a “big step up”, Earle said, as he revealed they were trying to move further into the world of pop.
“We do really want to eventually be in arenas so we need this sound,” he said.
“We think we’ve found that sound… Accidentally On Purpose is really poppy. The fans have really kind of taken to it and it’s really exciting.”
“We love country so much and it had such a raw deal. No one thought it was cool and now it’s definitely getting a lot cooler and it’s great to be part of it,” he added.