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Qiaobi’s “Horrible” and “Racist” Commercial Taken Down, Chinese Netizens Respond

The controversial Qiaobi laundry detergent commercial that shows a black man turning into a Chinese man after being ‘washed’ has been taken down by the company. The brand apologizes for the controversy, but many Chinese netizens are not satisfied.

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The controversial Qiaobi laundry detergent commercial that shows a black man turning into a Chinese man after being ‘washed’ has been taken down by the company. The brand apologizes for the controversy, but many Chinese netizens are not satisfied.

Earlier this week, a Chinese commercial for laundry detergent caused big controversy when international media exposed how it depicts a black man turning Chinese after a girl puts him in the washing machine. Many media and netizens deemed the commercial “horrible” and “completely racist”.

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Although the commercial initially did not receive much attention in China, the storm of criticism from outside the PRC eventually also sparked discussions on Chinese social media. Different websites soon exposed that the Chinese commercial was copied from a 2006 Italian ad where a white man turns into a black man after being ‘washed’.

On May 30, Chinese media reported that Qiaobi had taken the commercial down and had apologized in response to the outrage it caused.

Qiaobi is owned by mother company Shanghai Leishang Cosmetics (上海雷尚化妆品有限公司) that was established in 2009. A spokesperson for the company stated that the commercial was filmed in the beginning of 2016 and later, on March 31st, was published on Qiaobi’s official WeChat account.

The video has now been removed from the Qiaobi account. On the evening of May 28, the company issued an official apology on its Sina Weibo account, where it strongly denounced racism and said they regretted the commercial had caused so much controversy. They also stated they had “no intention of discriminating against people of color” by making the commercial.

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Many Weibo netizens, however, blame Western media for pointing fingers and deem an apology unnecessary. “What are they apologizing for?” one netizen writes: “It was just a commercial. Western media are crazy.”

“Western media have just taken their concept of ‘racism’ and applied it [to this commercial]. In reality, the great majority of Chinese people have no notion of ‘white’ versus ‘black’ or ‘Asian’, and any supposed inferiority in this,” another commenter says.

Many Weibo netizens are also not satisfied with Qiaobi’s apology for another reason; because it there is no mention of the fact that the commercial was copied from the original Italian ad. “How come you don’t say anything about plagiarizing?” one of the top comments says.

“Your problem is plagiarism, not racism,” one Weibo user says.

But others disagree, writing: “You really made China lose face with this blatant racism, do you have no human understanding at all?!”

“It’s good that it’s removed, not just for the racism, but also because it is plagiarized – it makes China look bad,” one netizen writes.

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Marketing & Advertising

Secret Tests Expose That Beijing’s Five-Star Luxury Hotels Do Not Change Bed Sheets

Secret tests run by a review organization have exposed how Beijing’s top-notch hotels do not change their bed sheets or clean their toilet seats. The report has caused a great commotion on Chinese social media, where it has become the talk of the day.

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Secret tests run by a review organization have exposed how Beijing’s top-notch hotels do not change their bed sheets or clean their toilet seats. The report has caused great commotion on Chinese social media, where it has become the talk of the day.

An online report by an assessment organization has exposed how some of Beijing’s 5-star luxury hotels do not change their bed sheets or clean the toilet seats after guests check out. The tests concern the renowned hotel chains Hilton, the W, Intercontinental, Marriot, and Shangri-La.

The tests were done by a company named ‘Better Choice, Better Life’ (literally ‘Blueberry Testing’ 蓝莓评测), which has over 60,500 followers on their Weibo account.

In a video released online on September 4, the research team says:

“As a review organization, we’ve found some unexpected results in a test which triggers a horrible assumption. We’ve seen messes of different industries in our tests. However, none of them have shocked us like this. The test result may lead to serious debate. But everyone deserves the truth, which is why we decided to release it.”

The video shows how members of the team check into several top hotels and mark their room’s sheets, quilt covers, toilets, and bathtubs with fluorescence stamps that can only be detected through a UV torch. These stamps will be removed when their surface is washed or gently wiped.

After messing up the room a bit, they then check out the next day and let other team members book exactly the same room after them to see if the bed linens and other room items are properly cleaned after guests leave.

The team found that in most cases, the pillow case, bed sheets, and/or quilt covers still had the same stamps on them, meaning that their linens were not only unwashed, but also were not changed at all.

They also found their marks had not been wiped off the toilet covers and toilet seats – which were not even touched after the check-out of the previous guests. They also found that the drinking glasses in the bathroom were left untouched by the hotel cleaners.

The team concluded that Beijing’s Hilton, Sanlitun Intercontinental, and W Hotel did not change their bed sheets after previous guests had departed and new guests had arrived. The JW Marriott Beijing did change the bed sheets and quilt cover, but not the pillow cases. Shangri-La changed all the bed linen except for one pillow case.

None of the hotels were found to have cleaned the bathtubs, nor the toilets, and all of them greatly lacked in their hygiene and service quality.

The standard room prices for the hotels vary between approximately US$200 and US$400 per night; all are over 2000 RMB.

Under hashtags such as “5-Star Hotels Do Not Change Their Bed Sheets” (#五星酒店不换床单#), the report has become a big topic of debate on Chinese social media.

“Knowing they don’t even change the water glasses, are you still willing to stay at these ‘luxurious’ hotels?”, some netizens wondered.

“We should set up an independent network of hotel guests,” one commenter suggested: “And leave hidden marks for each other so the next guest can check whether or not the room is clean.”

Some people write that they are not surprised by the outcome of the tests, saying they often bring their own sheets or pillows to hotels for this reason.

In response to the controversy, the Beijing Tourism Association held an official meeting with the management of the concerning hotels on the morning of September 5.

In an announcement on Weibo, they stated that they asked the hotels for clarification about the controversy, and required them to face up to their company’s problems and to actively solve these issues and improve their quality of service.

The Beijing Tourism Association also stated that they would increase the supervision of these hotels, and would implement a strict inspection of their hygiene standards and service quality.

By Miranda Barnes & Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Marketing & Advertising

“It’s All Staged!” Cosplayer Viral Story Turns Out To Be Marketing Stunt

The story of a dressed-up ‘cosplay’ girl being scolded by an elderly woman on the Beijing subway went viral over the past week. It now turns out the scene was staged for marketing purposes. It’s not the first time a viral video turns out to be a publicity stunt.

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The story of a dressed-up ‘cosplay’ girl being scolded by an elderly woman on the Beijing subway went viral on Chinese social media over the past week. It now turns out the scene was staged for marketing purposes. This is not the first time a viral video turns out to be a publicity stunt.

It is often photos and videos of everyday scenes on public transport or on the streets that go viral on Chinese media. A pregnant woman making a fuss in the subway, a loud fight between two girls, or two men riding bumper cars on a traffic lane.

This week, a video of a young woman being scolded on the Beijing subway for wearing a cosplay outfit went viral on Chinese social media.

The video, allegedly secretly filmed by a bystander, was shared by Tencent News and other Chinese media platforms. It shows an older woman on Beijing’s Line 10 telling the girl off, saying it is people like her who are a bad influence to her grandchildren, that she is neglecting her duties, and wearing clothes that are too revealing.

The story attracted much attention on social media, where many netizens sided with the young woman and praised her for responding coolly although the woman was attacking her.

Now, the story has taken a sharp turn as it turns out that the whole scene was staged with the purpose of generating more attention for the ad behind the older lady, several sources write.

The company promoted in the ad is Womai.com, a
healthy food shopping website in China that delivers to one’s door. In the ad, the website promotes its ‘coolness’; it says it is not just ‘cool’ (or ‘cold’) because it allows shoppers to stay inside with the air conditioning on, but also because it makes ‘cold jokes’ (冷笑话 corny jokes) on its ad posters.

This is not the first time a viral story turns out to be staged. In 2015, photos of a ‘romantic proposal’ made its rounds on social media when a young man asked his pregnant girlfriend to marry him using over 50 packs of diapers in the shape of a giant heart. One bag of diapers carried a diamond ring inside. It was later said the scene was sponsored by Libero Diapers.

In 2016, a video showing a woman making a scene in a hospital after having to pay nearly $700 to see a doctor also went viral on Weibo. It prompted outrage on Chinese social media about malpractices in Chinese hospitals, where patients often get scammed by hospital scalpers.

Later, netizens discussed how the video probably was a marketing stunt for Yihu365, an online platform that offers its services in making hospital appointments.

Viral marketing stunts also often occur outside of China. In a smart campaign, Range Rover parked one of its cars outside of Harrods in the UK in 2016, spray painted with the words “Cheater” and “Hope she was worth it.” As photos of the car were immediately shared by people walking by on social media, the story became bigger and bigger, with even BBC reporting about it.

With dozens of everyday scenes going viral on Chinese social media every day, ‘fake virals’ have become a business opportunity for advertising companies. But because of China’s critical social media users, fake virals hardly ever last long. But by the time it goes viral, its marketing purpose has already been fulfilled.

By Manya Koetse

Thanks to Miranda Zhou Barnes.

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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