Chinese netizens express mixed responses to seeing Mao Tze-Tung’s image used in condom advertisement.
Recently, huangqiu.com (a website belongs to Global Times) reported a German condom advertiser used Mao Tze-Tung’s image on their product advertisement, which was also produced by a world renowned advertising agency, Grey Worldwide. This “brave creativity” raised lots of attention from Chinese people. Below is the new article, and netizen comments from three different popular forums.
If seeing this advertisement alone, it will take me some time to find out that is Mao Tze-Tung.
Huangqiu.com news article: German experts denounced advertisement insulting Mao Tze-Tung
A German condom advertiser used deceased Chinese former chairman Mao Tze-Tung as the protagonist in their condom advertisement, this series of advertisement also features Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden, in order to show their “creativity”. After this advertisement was published in March, it has been wildly challenged in Germany, especially the anger from oversea Chinese. A local scholar stated that the advertiser despised of discrediting China in order to be outstanding and renowned, this is “unacceptable”.
Lately, a lot of Chinese reported to journalist of Global Times that they saw an advertisement posted on “Ads of the World” website insulted Chinese leader Mao Tze-Tung. After getting the information, the journalist went to the website and found the advertisement which was titled as “Doc Morris Pharmacy: Mao Tze-Tung”. It used Chinese leader’s image, together with Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden to advertise the condom product from a Dutch pharmacy shop.
Osama bin Laden
After that, the Global Times journalist also found out that this advertisement was actually produced by Grey Worldwide, the 2nd largest advertising agency in German. Grey Worldwide has been founded for 50 years, and already set up 428 offices in 97 different countries, which includes Shanghai, China. The journalist tried to call Grey Worldwide on 13th, but since during Easter, no one answered the phone.
Nobody knows whether it was Grey Worldwide didn’t know the advertisement would lead to this kind of consequence or they did it in purpose. Ying Shen, a lady who lives in Berlin expressed her anger to the journalist, she said this advertisement hurt Chinese people’s emotion, and the other party had to apologize. Readers of “Ads of the World” also scored very low for this advertisement, which is 4.5 out of 10. “Associate Chinese leader with Hitler? This is scandalous!” A netizen called Ruipi said.
Alter Burce, an expert of German international media institute explained this advertisement’s original idea in an interview, he said it was created to convert a message as “there is nothing to be afraid of even if it is something as strong as Mao Tze-Tung”; in order to show the condom can provide very strong secure protection. But by doing this, it not only obviously against the base principle in advertising, but also hurt Chinese’s feeling. Alter Burce also stated that “messing up” Chinese leader who is adored by Chinese people with Hitler and Laden was “unacceptable”. Apparently, Grey Worldwide wanted to be different and famous, even at the cost of embarrassing China. According to “Holite Daily” (Sherry: transliteration; a German newspaper), Deutsche Bank has rejected to work with Grey Worldwide because of dissatisfaction of their creative.
This is not the first time that German companies use Chinese leader images in their advertisement. A German insurance company once used Chinese leader as the main character in a TVC; a radio station once even illustrated ornament on a leader’s eyes; some other companies, like Grey Worldwide, juggled Chinese leader images in order to achieve their publicizing purpose. In January 2008, a French company, Citroen, because of juggling Chinese leader Mao Tze-Tung’s image in their advertisement in Spain, made their apology at last (Sherry: didn’t hear about this? Here is a BBC news on it).
Comment from Sohu.com:
搜狐陕西省西安市网友/(from Xian, Shanxi)
Mao Tze-Tung drove invaders out of China which makes him a hero. Chinese people will be agaist whoever scolds him!
(The artwork is) Too imaginative, I don’t think it looks alike.
It is a nation of no repent.
Stop the company’s sales in China right now, stop importing all of its products.
At first I thought German devils were ok, now seems they are the same as Japanese ones. We should resist both Japanese products and German products. German devils have to apologize to Chinese.
搜狐山东省德州市网友/(from Dezhou, Shandong)
Where are hackers? Go and get rid of that website for revenge.
Scandalous! Insulting our great Han nation, it must be punished no matter how remote it is!
Kao (something like F***)! Why not put Bush with Hitler? Henchman Germans.
搜狐江苏省扬州市网友/(from Yangzhou, Jiangsu)
Support, it favors Mao.
So our deceased leader is a terrorist?
搜狐辽宁省锦州市网友/(from jinzhou, Liaoning)
Germans still don’t know how to respect others. I start doubt their previous confessions.
搜狐河南省许昌市网友/(from Xuchang, Henan)
Germans have a good insight.
搜狐浙江省杭州市网友/(from Hangzhou, Zhejiang)
Does it really matter about putting whom onto the condom advertisement? Didn’t French still made Sarkozy’s pig head into a WuduDoll (a cursing doll in China)? Even as a prime minister of a nation, he will still lose this case. Change to another view point, this represented the democracy of western countries, can you do that in China? We shouldn’t always think in the Chinese way (which means being used to durance, being used to speaking highly, being used to kingship, being used to idol adoration), and deny other’s acts. I once read an article written by a westerner, which said that as a dictator, Mao and Hitler were viewed similarly by many western people. Although we can’t treat westerner’s opinion as standard, but as a country who is becoming internationally day by day, we need to share thoughts instead of only aiming at convincing others, isn’t it? I don’t think it is an insult!
搜狐广东省广州市网友/(from Guangzhou, Guangdong)
What’s the big deal? Mao is just one of Chinese people.
Don’t always talk under the banner of Chinese nation; as a Chinese, I hate that. It can only represent the view of a small group of people. I think it is quite normal, if you want to be criticizing, don’t represent me, I think it’s normal!!!
搜狐广东省汕头市网友/(from Cantou, Shandong)
Completely against it.
Strongly call for world widely no condom, natural and environment-friendly.
搜狐江苏省南通市网友/(from Nantong, Jiangsu)
Chinese are too kind. We can also put their leads in advertisements.
搜狐广东省惠州市网友/(from Huizhou, Guangdong)
Pretty good creative work.
搜狐江苏省常州市网友/(from Changzhou, Jiangsu)
Good, with this condom, we can ensure thousands of German women get impregnation, Germans all change into yellow people.
Comment from Tom.com:
Nowadays, Europe and U.S. worship “百无禁忌 (Sherry: means nothing can be forbidden)”. This kind of speech and opinion freedom is not what can be easily understood by Chinese, especially by Mainland Chinese base on the education they received. It is an objective truth that the difference of civilian culture is mostly influenced by different polity and media channels. Westerners misunderstand us is because they don’t really know nowadays China, and the reason why Chinese has hatred towards Japan and French etc. is also directed by some political media channels. As we always say that the world is a big family, but no matter how developed the internet is, emotional distance is way more than the real distance. Appropriate nationalism is patriotic, but too much nationalism will destroy the world peace.
TOM浙江省宁波网友/(from Ningbo, Zhejiang)
Please print my name on the condom! Make me feel good!!
TOM湖南省湘潭网友/(from Xiangtan, Hunan)
This is “Western Civilization”.”
Who is Hitler, who is Laden, putting Grandpa Mao together with them, the implication is clear. Yes, free speech, but it’s not so free that you can scold other’s image. This kind of advertisement implies that “Mao is terrorist and dictator”. It is even more unacceptable than the Citroen advertisment.
TOM广东省深圳福田区网友/(from Futian, Guangdong)
Germans say bad thing of China, we buy American products; America say bad thing of China, we buy Japanese Products; Japan say bad thing of China, we buy French products; France say bad thing of China, we buy German products.
TOM黑龙江省哈尔滨网友/(from Haerbin, Heilongjiang)
Didn’t German media, companies and experts already against it? This is enough.
TOM广东省深圳宝安区网友/(from Baoan District, Shenzhen, Guangdong)
It is a trick and we all got trapped. The more attention, the happier those Germans will be. So we should block all this product related information in China.
TOM广东省深圳网友/(from Shenzhen, Guangdong)
It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, what matters is if it catches mice. Before, the condom was just a European product, now thanks to you all, it’s well-known throughout China.
Comment from Tianya.com:
Don’t worry about it, we can use Hitler for sanitary towel advertisement too.
Mao is out of date! Now we use Hu jin tao!
Not my business, not a big deal.
Chairman is still fighting.
So many Chinese out there have too much time.
Haha, people all say German are stubborn, I think they are quite quick-minded! Very creative, talented. It makes me want to buy some to try on.
Just look at the fact, (Mao Tze-Tung) married three times in his life (Yang, He, Jiang) (Sherry: these are Mao’s three wives’ last names), several mistresses, dozens of kids He really has a strong sexual desire, suitable to be the speak person for condom.
I am not mad. It’s not insulting my feeling, so doesn’t represent me.
If this happens in western world such as U.S., it’s just a small matter; neither civilians nor both parties will mind it.
There is nothing to argue about, people’s images are all built by themselves.
It shows the Chairman’s image is deep in people’s heart.