Marc Jacobs Turns Store “BRANDalism” into Branding Opportunity
Monday night the Marc Jacobs store in Soho, New York, was noticeably vandalized with the large pink word “Art” spray painted across the façade of the store. The vandalizing incident has so far been attributed to a French street artist who goes by the alias, “Kidult.” Targeting fashion labels claim to like graffiti, Kidult is no stranger to making his literal mark on swank fashion houses. Previous victims include Christian Louboutin, Kenzo, and Louis Vuitton establishments. Kidult performs his graffiti stunts by filling a fire extinguisher with paint, therefore being able to cover a large storefront relatively easily.
Kidult’s vandalism crusade on the fashion houses, also known as “BRANDalizing,” is not just limited to typical graffiti art. Kidult handed out free Hermes inspired T-shirts at the label’s London store. Kidult pulled a similar exploit in front of a Celine store several months ago.
After returning the storefront to its former glory, the team at Marc Jacobs did some major damage control and turned the issue into a branding opportunity. The official Marc Jacobs twitter tweeted a photo of the besmirched storefront with the caption, “Art by Art Jacobs.” They later tweeted and posted on facebook a photo of a T-shirt featuring a photo of the vandalized storefront across the chest of the garment. The caption for this photo reads “Available now to $689. Signed by the artist, $680.” There seems to be a great deal of confusion in cyberspace over whether this is a sarcastic ploy or a serious product. Most facebook users have posted comments to the effect of: “that’s more than my rent” while others explain “I think people are missing the joke…” It’s very unsure what type of game Marc Jacobs and Kidult are playing. It is even questionable as to whether the artist and the company are on opposing sides. Both parties have gotten a great deal of publicity from the incident after all. Perhaps a new form of guerilla advertising has been born. But will we know the difference between commissioned graffiti and actual street art?
By: Sarah Humphries