by MYC! CEO Jason Ko
This is a Story of when a Global luxury brand insults a large section of its consumer base
(Asian Chinese) & believes that they can continue to make money from this base like nothing happened. They never said sorry.
Est reading time : 5mins (15 mins if you keep answering your WhatsApp)
Who should read this?
International Business / Communications / Marketing & Advertising Students
Entrepreneurs & Start Ups
Only westerners who think of making money from global markets can even bother to visualize a condescending ad campaign that insults the very customers that it seeks to make money from.
D&G (Dolce & Gabbana for those haute couture-wise uninformed) recently ran an Ad campaign which featured a Chinese Model ignorantly (...and stupidly) trying to eat Italian Food with a pair of chopsticks.
To add soya sauce to injury, Stefano Gabbana, one of the (2) founders of D&G engaged in an insulting online chat tirade, which in short implied that China was a Nation of sh*t.
This was later explained by D&G that Stefano’s social media account was ‘hacked’.
Truth be told, no one believes this as Stefano has a history of being combative & profane via online chats.
Logic Check .. But why?
Pure arrogance .. genuine disregard for other cultures considered “lesser”, there are many reasons
but the truth is, attitudes like this does not happen overnight but is built over time.
The Outcome ..
Schadenfreude .. (feeling good when bad things happen to obnoxious people)
The only people who seemed to be truly surprised at the outcome of the backlash appears to be D&G. Chinese netizens (obviously freaking rich) started showing short home-made videos of self-made bonfires of themselves burning D&G products they bought.
Their much-awaited D&G unveil fashion show in Shanghai was cancelled (as no Chinese Model in her right mind wanted to be “boo-ed” on the Catwalk.)
Online Influencers and celebrities weighed in & called for a general boycott of all D&G products.
In less than 48 hours, D&G products were unlisted from ALL popular Chinese eCommerce web sites.
This will definitely impact D&G where it hurts the most. Inside their (branded) wallets.
Money or Narrow-minded Arrogance?
Any company or business aspiring to be globally accepted cannot choose to be both profitable
selling to a global market and also insulting segments of their customers based on nothing more than illogical arrogance and a superior “entitled” attitude. (as in “I’m born European, I’m better than any Asian” .. that kind of entitlement. Which sometimes is sadly agreed to by some Asians)
The truth is from the very creation of the condescending ad by D&G’s art director to the ad being approved by their management; the fact that no one thought anything was wrong; shows that the brand does not deserve this particular set of affluent Asian customers.
Moral of the Story?
“The definition of a Celebrity is One who Makes others feel Special” ~ Jason Ko
I coined this term as In the course of dealing with “Malaysian Celebrities”, I realized that only a handful of those that I met personally would make a conscientious effort to make others around them feel special.
This phrase is the very definition of the emotional pull of a luxury brand to those who can (& cannot) afford to pay USD 1,000 (RM 4,100) or more for a wallet or handbag. It makes them feel special.
When buying a product reminds the customers that (for any reason) the brand despises their own customers due to their background or culture or geography; the brand is in obvious trouble.
Ideal Recovery Strategy for D&G
As the damage is already done, nothing works better than a sincere apology in action while the furore slowly dies down (any positive action will increase the timing for the healing process)
Watching this video, one realizes that they have not even said sorry. They’re just sorry that their precious fashion show was cancelled.
D&G’s founders should show that China’s customers matter by creating social projects that benefit China’s society i.e. fund for aspiring young Chinese Designers.
Hire Chinese celebrities to encourage the community at large to accept their “groveling apology” while appointing a Chinese face of D&G in China to redirect the social narrative.
All the above will be pointless however, if D&G just changes the cosmetics surface but not the Heart of the Brand. Something this bad does not start from positive brand values.
This is a good time for global racists to reconsider where their source of income is coming from Days of the White Rajah set with the British Empire.
Even Donald Trump’s daily antics that embolden white nationalists globally, cannot reverse the global trend towards accepting a person or a brand, based on a Good Story of doing genuine good for others.