San Francisco buildings have seen their share of graffiti and street art, but Justin Bieber’s latest attempt at urban art has some city residents seeing red.
Bieber’s latest guerrilla marketing campaign advertising his new album Purpose has been spotted on sidewalks across the city and now taxpayers will have to foot the bill to clean it up.
There’s also an unfortunate association with the sidewalk graffiti. The hashtag on the former teen star’s graffiti, #Nov13, is largely associated with the Paris terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 130 people Nov. 13, the same day the album was released.
Angry San Francisco residents first spotted Bieber’s graffiti in the Upper Haight neighborhood, but it’s also been seen on Divisadero, Polk Street, Valencia, and in SoMa. It’s been spotted as far away as New York, which will also have to shoulder the cost of cleaning up the pop star’s mess.
San Francisco spends $20 million every year to clean up and remove graffiti, and now, thanks to Bieber, they will have more sites to clean up.
The 21-year-old Canadian singer announced a 64-city North America tour scheduled for next year with concert dates in Europe beginning in September. In 2014, Justin raked in some $80 million and earned a spot on Forbes‘ Highest-Earning Celebrities Under 30 list.
The pop star reportedly earns more than $1 million per show, so next year’s worldwide tour could potentially be his biggest payday yet.
Maybe that fortune will inspire Bieber to chip in and help clean up the graffiti his marketing team spray painted all over San Francisco streets, but that’s far from certain as SF Public Works employee Rachel Gordon told Hoodline.
“Using our sidewalks for advertising is unacceptable. We’ve inquired with both Public Works and the City Attorney’s office as to when the tags will be cleaned up, and whether Bieber and his labels, Def Jam Recordings and School Boy Records, will be held accountable; we’ve yet to receive a response from them or from Bieber’s label and management.”
This isn’t the first time San Francisco has been forced to bear the cost of someone else’s guerrilla marketing campaign.
In 2010, Zynga pasted fake $25,000 bills on San Francisco streets to advertise their Mafia Wars game. They used industrial-style glue that required a professional steam cleaner to spend 45 minutes at each location to remove the bills. The company eventually coughed up $45,000 in cleanup costs.
Then, in 2013, the band Arcade Fire hired street artists to tag city streets with the word REFLEKTOR to promote their new album. In February of this year, Lyft spray painted hopscotch ads on city streets to promote their “Skip Your Commute” campaign.
There’s no word yet if Justin Bieber, Def Jam Records, or the promoter plan to pay for the clean up costs for this latest marketing campaign, and many San Francisco residents are upset with the singer’s audacity.
Angry residents took to Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit to express their disgust with Justin’s advertising campaign, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I wonder what marketing exec thought it was a good idea to tag Haight with this, of all places.”
This isn’t the first time Bieber has used graffiti to promote his music, so maybe San Francisco should have been ready.
In October, Justin used a global team of street artists to paint murals of song titles in cities around the world; he posted the photos online to help advertise his new CD, reports Vulture.
What do you think of Justin Bieber’s marketing campaign?
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Universal Music]