A campaign by a beer company to celebrate football star Lionel Messi is in the spotlight. As much as the sports icon is an inspiration, the brand advertising by Budweiser has been questioned by local artists as the company, they claim, while promoting the campaign, ended up painting murals of Messi over existing street art in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village. In a recent development, Budweiser reached out to St+art India and expressed their concerns over hurting sentiments of artists and street art and resolved to work with the artists to restore the murals.
As part of a campaign kickstarted by Budweiser India, three such murals have come up in that locality, Hindustan Times reported. A collective of local artists under the title of St+art India Foundation took to their social media handle to highlight that the beer company painted the murals over existing art pieces created in 2014 by artists Okuda San Miguel and Mariusz Waras.
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The original mural on the building showed a mix of geometric patterns and animals in bright colours, St+art India said. It new art depicts Messi’s journey in football, including his birthplace Rosario, his childhood and in the corner, a QR code that provides the link to the website ‘budspace.in’.
A representative of Budweiser India said that they believed in the ‘power of art’ and wanted to just portray Messi’s journey to inspire people. The beer company also said that they had even approached St+art India regarding the street art for the Messi campaign.
“As part of curating these murals, we reached out to multiple artists including St+art India, and collaborated with artists that met our creative and commercial direction through these illustrations that they curated over months. Our aim was always to offer the insider perspective into the G.O.A.T’s (greatest of all time) iconic journey and inspire fans through creative murals that celebrated his journey. As part of curating these murals, we ensured that these walls are first restored and will continue to support the creator community,” HT quoted the spokesperson as saying.
The campaign was initiated across prominent cities including Mumbai and Delhi and as part of it, the company has been running such campaigns to highlight the football star’s extraordinary journey.
In a recent development, Budweiser reached out to St+art India and expressed their concerns over hurting sentiments of artists and street art and said that they have reached out to the original artists and will work jointly with them to revive the old murals.
Budweiser said that their intent was to “inspire fans showcasing the G.O.A.T’s journey through and artform we love and support.”
St+art India also put up a similar post on their social media handle, confirming that the beer company’s team will be working directly with the artists to repaint the walls.