This Chinese detergent ad is being universally blasted for racism

For once, the internet’s collective outrage at something is right.

A commercial for Qiaobi, a Chinese laundry detergent, is jaw droppingly racist. The commercial shows a woman loading clothes into a washing machine when a paint-splattered black man approaches her. She then stuffs him into washer where he pops out as an Asian man.

The commercial was posted by an American Facebook user yesterday, now living in China with the caption “I’m appalled.” It racked up 3.7 million views and another 2.1 million views on YouTube. What was initially an ad shown in Chinese movie theaters in March and April led to outrage mostly in the United States. Brandwatch said 51 percent of all mentions came from the U.S. with China only making 3 percent of online chatter.

The blog Shanghaiist notes the ad is a “blatant ripoff” of a similar ad for an Italian detergent from nine years ago. In that version, a white man is lured into a washer and comes out as a hunky black man, with the detergent’s slogan reading “colored is better.”

But in China, as the Shanghaiist explains, there’s a “well-established phobia of dark skin which unfortunately also breeds racist attitudes towards people of African descent, who are viewed by some as ‘dirty’ simply because of their skin tone,” so the ad wasn’t likely viewed as tone-deaf. In fact, 70 percent of all searches for on Baidu are for skin whitening products. It’s also one of many racist ads that’s been created.

Still, responses and comments ricocheted around the internet lashing the brand. Many called it the “most racist” ad they’ve ever seen.

Qiaobi was not responding to request for comments, according to the South China Morning Post.

https://digiday.com/?p=180247

More in Marketing

The header image features an illustration with a dollar bill that has the Snapchat logo in the center.

Snap eyes growth as TiKTok faces uncertain future in the U.S. 

TikTok’s uncertain future in the U.S. could be a win for Snap, especially as the TikTok ban calls into question the billions of dollars currently driving the short-form video app’s ad business. 

Research Briefing: Despite challenges, marketers plan to increase programmatic spending in 2024

In this edition of the Digiday+ Research Briefing, we examine the challenges marketers are facing within the programmatic ad market, what publishers are saying about diversifying revenue streams and how YouTube refined its pitch ahead of last week’s upfront event, as seen in recent data from Digiday+ Research.