Enraged Indians Criticize Budweiser For Painting Over Street Art In Mumbai & Delhi

In a marketing stunt gone wrong, beer brand Budweiser India commissioned murals of ace footballer Lionel Messi for their brand campaign. But it did so by re-painting some existing, decades-old existing street artwork by art-based organization St+Art India.

As per a report in The Statesman, the St+Art India Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes street art in India. In an Instagram post, the organization criticized Budweiser India for painting over their “earliest murals in Delhi” which included the wall of a primary school as well. “It is unethical for an alcohol brand to advertise on a school wall,” they stated. Check it out:

They also asserted, “This is not art. This is blatant advertising in the name of street art.”

In response, Budweiser India took to their Instagram stories to post the following message saying that the brand believed in the “power of art” and that they have worked with multiple artists to “build a strong foundation that is supportive towards the creator community”.

Budweiser India called out for painting ‘Messi’ murals over decades-old street art in Mumbai and Delhi

Budweiser India nevertheless faced a lot of heat from enraged creators online for painting Lionel Messi’s murals over iconic street artworks of the Bollywood Art Project which included legends like Madhubala and Sridevi.

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Hanif Kureshi, who co-founded St+Art India, wrote an open letter to Budweiser criticizing them for “hijacking” decades-old street art and converting them into advertisements.

RJ Rohini Ramnathan also took to Twitter to share a ‘Thread of Rage’ where she shared the story of what went behind creating the old Bollywood street art:

As per a report in The Indian Express, the street artists are now fighting back by again painting over the Messi murals. Delhi-based graffiti writer Smog said, “We used to get inspired by looking at these artworks and were very sad when we got to know what happened. So, we all came together to paint and write over the Budweiser murals to reclaim our space back from the corporates.”

Sanjay Sahay, who is the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s director of press and information, said that Budweiser India did not take permission from the MCD, and that the QR code has been removed and those portions would be repainted.

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