Street art "guerilla" campaign causes backlash from real street artists

Saatchi&Saatchi's new campaign for Sagatiba cachaça ain't going too well.

"The Man Behind The Curtain has been revealed. He drives a Jag and eats sushi."
-- The Londonist

ArtInfo: "Saatchi Tags London with Fake Art to Hawk Brazilian Liquor"

When a documentary on BBC2 called "Inside Saatchi and Saatchi" revealed that the stencils appearing all over London were really an advertising campaign created by hip creatives the backlash didn't take long. When the 'Brazilian Jesus' appeared on the Woostercollective street art website, other street art fans to wrote in to explain that it wasn't "legit" street art at all and called for it's destruction. The brazilian jesus is now being plastered over with plain white posters, and painted over by other street artists wherever it may be found. Even The Times Online reports on this turf war going on between commercial art and street art in the heart of London.

D*Face, an artist and a curator at the Outside Institute gallery in Paddington, West London, said that artists were angry that an advertising agency had attempted to hijack an artform without investing in it.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (6)

  • Plywood's picture

    Street artists are angry? They're people who paint shit on things they don't own? I didn't realize they had some sort of authority or claim to the city's walls and streets.

    May 24, 2005
  • Dabitch's picture

    They're not the only ones who cover shit they don't own in London (or most world-cities for that matter), after all that's where Flyposters are paid for by taxpayers since the advertisers don't pay for the "media space" (which it isn't) and don't pay for it's removal. Some might argue that the spread of ads on 'pirated' space might have caused the street art boom as most artists paint over the illegal ads as canvas.
    /serious ;)

    It is pretty ironic though, and perhaps best summed up like Jordan said when Nissan did their Urban fakeout
    I LOVE this, by the way. I love how how "legitimate underground artists" are pissed off that their idea of subversion is being subverted. And
    it's probably the work of a street artist hired by a creative wonk like me at an agency to do the subverting.

    "But, but, I wanna be angry! I wanna fight the power! I'm not just some whiney tagger bitching because, um, I get to decide what's cool and if you do something sort of cool-esque it erodes my cool and my identity as EDGY and SUBVERSIVE..."

    May 24, 2005
  • Neaner's picture

    ".....hijack an artform without investing in it."
    They're just pissed because they aren't getting paid/rich.

    May 24, 2005
  • CopyWhore's picture

    ...And these so-called "street artists" are idiots to boot! By getting their panties in a proverbial bunch about this and creating all this publicity, they're doing exactly the thing that Saatchi's intended: generating buzz.

    The smarter move would've been to simply ignore the "fake art", thereby keeping it invisible to the masses...but they've played right into the publicity-creating trap...

    May 24, 2005
  • Dabitch's picture

    ..hehe, and they call advertising people manipulative. Gee, wonder why? ;))

    May 24, 2005