Is it too late now to say sorry?
Justin Bieber's Purpose marketing tactic helped him get three songs in the Top 5 this week, but it landed him in hot water with San Fransisco officials.
The Biebs and his record label Def Jam are under investigation for the sidewalk graffiti promoting Bieber's album.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent Def Jam a letter seeking cooperation in finding and punishing the artists responsible for spray-painting city sidewalks with promotional ads for his latest record.
"As city attorney, I take the illegal graffiti marketed for Mr. Bieber’s album seriously, and I will aggressively pursue all available penalties and costs from those responsible for lawless marketing tactics that intend to financially benefit your respective companies," Herrera wrote in a letter to Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels and Universal Music Group's General Counsel and Executive Vice President Jeffrey Harleston.
"This prohibited marketing practice illegally exploits our city's walkable neighborhoods 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," Herrera continued. It concluded Bieber's reps need to "begin the process of resolving the harms done to San Francisco and its residents on your companies' behalf."
A spokesperson for Herrera, Matt Dorsey, a self-proclaimed Belieber, says he's not sure how many guerrilla art pieces are scattered about San Fransisco, but his office has eight instances filed.
"These are visual distractions for pedestrian safety," Dorsey said, "and it sends a message to young people, 'Hey, if Justin Bieber does this, it's OK for you to do it.'"
Herrera's office saw compensation from an advertising company in 2010 that glued decals of fake $25,000 bills to city sidewalks. They agreed to pay the city a $45,000 penalty for the decals. IBM in 2001 and NBC Universal in 2004 also paid up when they spray painted various logos throughout the city – forking over $103,000 and $100,000 respectively.
His art pop could mean anything.