It seems like we are in the year for ads that are causing quite a stir. Whether it’s racist people who are upset by the fact Old Navy promoted a multiracial family causing a social media frenzy. Then there’s Qiaobi, a laundry detergent based out of China promoting colorism in a tasteless commercial that has now gone viral.
If you haven’t seen it, watch it now and join the rest of us who went from shock to pure awe at the blatant racism this ad promotes in a tongue and cheek manner I suppose the consumer is supposed to find humorous or clever.
For those of you who would like to enjoy your week and not entertain the ignorance of it by watching then I here’s a quick summary of this laundry detergent commercial. The ad starts with a Chinese woman who is washing her clothes and is approached by a paint splattered black man. He attempts to seduce her by whistling and then getting in close proximity where you get a small vibe that they may kiss. No harm or foul… until she stuffs a detergent into his mouth and pushes him into the washing machine. When he emerges he is a young, clean Chinese man smiling at her and winking into the camera with laundry detergent packet.
China has always had a very problematic view with race/skin tone as a culture often promoting the misconception to its people that the lighter their skin tone is, the better they are. While other countries have different standards of beauty that can often be viewed as problematic, there is no arguing that this ad was created in severely poor taste.
Audience reaction to the commercial has been one of suck disgust and horror the company released the following apology over the weekend:
"[Due to] the harm that has been caused to members of the ethnic African communities as a result of the advertisement's circulation and the over-dramatization by the public opinion, we hereby express our apology and sincerely hope that the internet users as well as media will not over-analyze," the company said in a statement. "We strongly oppose and condemn racial discrimination."
The ad had received over 8 million views on YouTube since being posted by an independent person on Thursday and the company stated they have removed all of traces of it as best they could online. Eliminating it from the internet does not change the fact that the producers of the commercial and the company itself weren’t initially as apologetic as they should have been for the response to the ad. The company told Chinese nationalist newspaper The Global Times:
“We meant nothing but to promote the product, and we had never thought about the issue of racism.”
A smart musician once stated that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and perhaps the company and other foreign entities will take careful consideration in the models, story, and overall promotion of their products in the future.
As for what their company representative Mr. Wang stated regarding that the critics were “too sensitive,” I’m sure we can all agree that if anyone is lacking sensitivity it was the company in the production of said commercial.