Puma, a German-based company, has been accused of defacing heritage protected buildings in India for their latest advert.
The new advertising campaign is named “Suede Gully.” ‘Gully’ is the local colloquialism for ‘Street’ in Hindi. Puma’s renovation of their original 1968 suede collection is featured, although the advertisement features many items of Puma’s clothing.
Graffiti is a huge part of the heritage of Germany’s capital – Berlin – with what’s left of the Berlin wall being renovated by 105 paintings in 1990. Therefore, with Puma’s origins being based in Germany the message of their latest ad is strong and clear. However, the location of the advertisement – Delhi’s old quarter – has been plagued with often having historical heritage sites being defaced.
The area in question was established in the 17th-century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Historian Rana Safvi estimates the graffitied walls in question to be 200 years old.
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Opinions are divided, with many professionals outraged by the blatant vandalism of historical buildings. However, the private owner of the building in question is quoted as saying “The area is looking better now, it is more lively”.
There is one thing the owner, Arun Khandelwal, and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), can agree on. The defacing of walls with “posters and advertisements” is a prevalent problem in Delhi.
Puma and Balancing Act, the company responsible for the campaign, have stated they are trying to restore the building to its original state in order to save the “permanent damage to the carved sandstone, limestone plaster, and Lahori bricks”
However, it is called into question whether or not they are in violation of any laws. There are laws in place in India specifically targeting advertisement on historical buildings. Although, the authorities of Delhi often let this go ignored as the money from the advertisement is invaluable.
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