Published Dec 28, 2015Pop pipsqueak Justin Bieber continues to give some people what they want thanks to his single-heavy Purpose album and a forthcoming vinyl reissue campaign. Some of his millennial marketing moves aren't sitting well with everyone, however. A guerilla ad campaign in San Francisco, for example, has now prompted a full-blown investigation from the city.
Earlier this month, a number of Reddit and Twitter users pointed out that Justin Bieber's Purpose had been advertised throughout San Francisco via a white graffiti tag (not unlike the Arcade Fire's Reflektor ad campaign). There were even tags in the iconic hippie hangout of Haight Street.
While the marketing campaign initially turned some heads online, it's now got the attention of San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera, who today (December 28) released an open letter to Def Jam and Universal Music Group.
Herrera called the marketing campaign "illegal and actionable," adding that they plan to "aggressively pursue all available penalties and costs from those responsible for lawless marketing tactics that intend to financially benefit your respective companies."
He went on to say: "This prohibited marketing practice illegally exploits our city's walkable neighbourhoods and robust tourism; intentionally creates visual distractions that pose risks to pedestrians on busy rights of way; and irresponsibly tells our youth that likeminded lawlessness and contempt for public property are condoned and encouraged by its beneficiaries — including Mr. Bieber and the record labels that produce and promote him."
San Francisco Public Works director Mohammed Nuru added, "The definition of graffiti is tagging someone else's property without permission, and they certainly did not have our permission to do this to our sidewalks."
If convicted, the parties responsible for the Bieber vandalism could be forced to pay up to $2,500 USD per violation, in addition to any removal fees. The other option, according to the city attorney, is for Def Jam and UMG to detail the extent of the graffiti and offer "a proposal to resolve the full scope of wrongdoing and avoid civil litigation."
Representatives for Justin Bieber have not yet responded to the open letter.