The British government’s Home Office has launched a bizarre social media campaign in the style of the decidedly retro anti-pirating warnings from the early millennium, including one message telling Britons “You shouldn’t make your own pub”.
In an effort to discourage Britons from socialising with each other after nearly a year of lockdowns and social distancing, the Home Office has resorted to a hard-hitting social campaign, showing clips of police busting baby showers or raiding friends getting together in makeshift “Covid Pubs”.
The footage, overlayed with retro late 90s techo music, includes banners with warnings such as, “You shouldn’t go to parties”, “You shouldn’t make your own pub”, “You shouldn’t go to raves”, “You shouldn’t hold baby showers”, “You shouldn’t be meeting up. Meeting up is against the law”, ending with the government’s favourite slogan: “Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.”
Social media users were quick to pick up on the clear homage to the iconic 2007 anti-piracy ad campaign which at the time attempted to discourage internet users from downloading illegal copies of films and music, which used a similar style to warn:
You wouldn’t steal a car
You wouldn’t steal a handbag
You wouldn’t steal a television
You wouldn’t steal a movie.
Downloading pirated films is stealing
Stealing is against the law
PIRACY. IT’S A CRIME
The short video was quickly remixed at the time by amused members of the public, spawning the early-2000s meme You Wouldn’t Download a Car.
On breaking lockdown to go to a rave, one member of the public said: “I’d agree, but nobody’s been to one since 2005 or so.”
Rebel News’s Ezra Levant remarked on the 1984-level of dystopian vibes, labelling it simply: “Airstrip One.”
The feedback-loop of vintage anti-piracy warnings took a strange turn, however, after the UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) replied to the Home Office, congratulating them for the vintage copyright theft-inspired video, suggesting the government consider creating a sequel based on another VHS-era warning clip. Yet as Twitter users soon pointed out, in a remarkable failure to cleave to founding principles, the Youtube link shared by FACT’s account to the Home Office was actually itself pirated.
Truly awful. https://t.co/RmzjADpubn
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 18, 2021
Airstrip One. https://t.co/6jvFC364EU
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) February 18, 2021
You wouldn't download a pub pic.twitter.com/TIL5WCmCo5
— Oliver JJ Lane (@oliver_lane) February 18, 2021
Huge brass eye vibes here https://t.co/DCcvwZZ6ga
— getcapewearcapefly (@forgetcape) February 18, 2021
you wouldn't download a rave https://t.co/jIydO17udw
— jacques au zid (@JAKAZiD) February 18, 2021
“You wouldn’t download a car” https://t.co/LUt60JcqTo
— dan le sac (@danlesac) February 18, 2021
You wouldn’t steal an advert https://t.co/ERHZglhnhX
— Miaoux Miaoux (@miaouxmiaoux) February 18, 2021