Burberry's latest Chinese New Year campaign, fronted by Chinese actresses Zhao Wei and Zhou Dongyu, has raised eyebrows in China for being too sombre and coming off as "horrific".
One of the campaign images posted on Burberry's Twitter page featured eight solemn looking models across generations posing for a family photo in Burberry outfits. According to the brand, the picture was meant to celebrate "togetherness", an important value in Chinese New Year.
Introducing our new collection, curated for #BurberryChineseNewYear
A portrait of togetherness, gathering the cross generations of family for a seasonal celebration. Starring #ZhaoWei and #ZhouDongyu; directed and photographed by @EthJGreen
— Burberry (@Burberry) January 3, 2019
Some netizens described the ad to be "terrifying", likening the models to "ghosts" and commenting if this was actually an ad meant for Chinese New Year or a funeral. Others noted that the picture is "void of emotion" and "lacked warmth", which does not go well with the festive spirit of Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, another netizen advised international brands not to try too hard to entice consumers for the sake of breaking into the Chinese market.
Burberry declined to comment when approached by Marketing. Burberry is not the only fashion brand to have been criticised by Chinese netizens in the past few months.
In November last year, Dolce & Gabbana caused a stir in the country when it published three 40-second ads featuring a model struggling to eat a pizza with chopsticks on its Facebook, Weibo, Twitter and Instagram accounts. This led to its Shanghai fashion show being cancelled and e-commerce sites such as Tmall, JD.com, Vipshop and Yanxuan pulling its products from their platforms. Founders Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana also apologised for the online furore in a video.
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