Budweiser India called out for painting ‘Messi’ murals over decades-old street art in Mumbai and Delhi
The beer giant is accused of hijacking India’s burgeoning street art scene for commercial purposes and painting it on a school wall.
Leading beer brand Budweiser India is exposed to the heat online for painting murals of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi over decades of popular street art in Mumbai (Chapel Road, Bandra) and Delhi (Hauz Khas Village).
In response to Budweiser’s murals, the St + art India Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes street art in India, commented, “This is not art. This is blatant advertising in the name of street art. “
St + art India went on to say that the murals were painted by Spanish painter and sculptor Okuda San Miguel and Mariusz Waras, a Polish artist named M-city, in Hauz Khas over “some of our earliest murals in Delhi”.
In his contribution, St + art India also criticized Budweiser for painting over Miguel’s work on a school wall. “It is unethical for an alcohol brand to advertise on a school wall.”
Mohammed Abood Uraibi, an Iraq-born DJ, MC and promoter best known as DJ MoCity, posted on Twitter snaps of Chapel Road, Bandra, where Messi murals covered the iconic works of art from the Bollywood Art Project, which are too Bandra’s favorite places had become one of them.
The Bollywood Art Project, which began in 2012, is an urban project that aims to turn Mumbai’s walls into a living monument to Bollywood. Ranjit Dahiya, a Mumbai-based graphic designer, is behind this project.
Agency Gandu, an Instagram company notorious for its hilarious take on agency culture, called out Budweiser and Animal, an independent creative agency, behind the project.
After responding to the murals, Budweiser India posted a story on its Instagram handle titled, “We have always believed in the power of art and over the years we have worked with multiple artists to create a strong foundation that supports the creative community supported. As part of the curation of these murals, we reached out to several artists, including St + art India, and worked with artists who achieved our creative and commercial alignment through these illustrations that took months to curate and even restore the walls. Our goal has always been to provide the inside perspective into GOAT (Messi’s) iconic journey and to inspire fans through creative murals celebrating his journey. We continue to support the community of creators. “
Wicked Broz, a graffiti agency that was part of this project, apologized for participating and said they would do their best to correct this mistake in the future.
The murals were part of a 360-degree Budweiser 0.0 campaign to celebrate Messi’s journey. To kick off the campaign, the brand launched special edition bespoke Messi bottles, along with a digital film titled “Greatness Brewed Overnight” and of course the murals.
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