A public apology from Volkswagen: “We’re sorry that we got caught.”

Travel around Paris this week and you might run into some unusual public ads: an Air France billboard proclaiming, “We’ll keep on bribing politicians and emitting greenhouse gases”; a Volkswagen promotion saying, “We’re sorry that we got caught.”

Is the world’s worst marketing agency on the loose? Actually, the 600-or-so altered ads are the work of street artists working with Brandalism, a shadowy group that since 2012 has replaced European billboards with activist messages and art. Their latest hack from this weekend takes aim at global-warming denial and the corporate forces opposing climate action, right before the Paris climate talks (known as COP21) are scheduled to begin.

From the group’s website:

Following on in the guerilla art traditions of the 20th Century and taking inspiration from Agitprop, Situationist and Street Art movements, the Brandalism project sees artists from around the world collaborate to challenge the authority and legitimacy of commercial images within public space and within our culture.…

All the artwork is unauthorised and unsigned. This is not a project of self-promotion, and none of the artists names… or websites appear on the works: we believe there are already enough private interests taking ownership of our streets.

Here’s a sampling of what’s popped up in the city; for many more images, visit Brandalism’s gallery.

Revolt Design
Barnbrook
Paul Insect
Eye Saw
Bill Posters
Bill Posters
Bill Posters
Barnbrook
B+
Unga
Polyp
Occupy Design
Aaron Li-Hill

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Ford’s Detroit Investments Are Bigger Than a Train Station

    A 1.2 million square foot downtown campus expands the automaker’s physical stake in the transportation future.

  2. Equity

    D.C.’s War Over Restaurant Tips Will Soon Go National

    The District’s voters will decide Initiative 77, which would raise the minimum wage on tipped employees. Why don’t workers support it?

  3. Two women prepare food at a McDonald's restaurant.
    Equity

    We Can Create Better Jobs—by Fixing the Bad Ones

    More than 65 million Americans toil in insecure, low-paying jobs. Instead of hoping they will all find different, and better, jobs, we should upgrade the ones they already have.

  4. POV

    To Build a Better Bus System, Ask a Driver

    The people who know buses best have ideas about how to reform the system, according to a survey of 373 Brooklyn bus operators.

  5. Attendees at a "Sweat Crawl" through the boutique fitness studios of D.C.
    Equity

    I Survived D.C.’s First ‘Sweat Crawl’

    “Forget what you’re going to be someday—you’re strong … today!”