A Messi Situation: How Budweiser''s Tribute Went Awry

10 April, 2021 (Saturday)

What started out as a celebration for a legendary football player, as a part of Budweiser's global campaign to pay tribute to Leo Messi's journey, ended up as an art faux pas.

Last month, Budweiser commissioned the design firm 'Animal' to paint murals to depict Leo Messi's life that were to be displayed in prominent locations all over Delhi and Mumbai. 

Soon after, St+art India Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes street art in India took to Instagram to call our Budweiser for its action. St+art were agitated by the fact that Budweiser had replaced their art overnight with murals of Messi. In their post, St+art stated that Budweiser had thrown away the essence of street art and were blatantly painting advertisements in the name of street start. They further criticized the alcoholic brand for painting over their works on school buildings, iterating it is unethical to encroach school buildings to promote alcohol. 

After a flaky apology that met with severe backlash, Budweiser then issued a statement addressing the entire situation. The message read, "We are deeply concerned that the sentiments of the artists and street art community have been hurt and we empathise. Our intention was to inspire fans showcasing the G.O.A.T’s journey, through an art form we love and support. Doing so we have inadvertently hurt sentiments, we have reached out to the artists of the original artworks Bollywood Art Project and St+art India, and will work together to restore these walls – all in good faith. [sic]”