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Budweiser’s Messi-Themed Street Artworks Get Tangled In Messy Drama
By Alexa Heah, 06 Apr 2021
Image via Budweiser India
Following Budweiser’s limited-edition bottle campaign to mark superstar Lionel Messi’s record-breaking 644th goal, it has now commissioned murals celebrating the soccer player’s journey. These murals were displayed in prominent spots in India, including Hauz Khas village in New Delhi and Chapel Road in Bandra, Mumbai.
However, the brand has landed in hot water for allegedly painting its murals over pre-existing street art. Several artists from St+art India Foundation – an organization promoting street art – took to social media to raise concerns over the brand’s attempt at “advertising in the name of street art.”
At least two of Budweiser’s murals were painted over existing art created by artists Okuda San Miguel and Mariusz Waras, from as far back as 2014. Hanif Kureshi, artistic director of St+art, likened it to “subconsciously advertising alcohol by removing iconic artwork.”
Lending itself to the controversy is also the fact that Budweiser, an alcohol brand, was promoting on a school building. The mural covers nearly all of the three-story building, detailing Messi’s birthplace of Rosario, Argentina, his youth soccer team, and other details on his life. There is also a QR code, with a link to the Budweiser Road to Glory website.
A Budweiser India spokesperson responded to the allegations, saying that the company had “reached out to multiple artists including St+art India,” and that its aim was “to offer the insider perspective into the G.O.A.T’s (greatest of all time) iconic journey,” according to a statement obtained by Campaign India. It also said that Budweiser would “continue to support the creator community.”
[via Campaign Asia, Packaging Europe and Hindustan Times, cover image via Budweiser India]
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