[UPDATE: 11/22] Zhang Ziyi says she will never ever buy Dolce & Gabbana again
n an epic and embarrassing public relations catastrophe, an ill-conceived Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign in China has led to the Italian fashion house being forced to cancel its high-profile show in Shanghai after managing to piss off the entire nation.
The new “DG Loves China” online marketing campaign notably included three short video clips of a giggling Asian model attempting to eat a pizza, a large cannoli, and spaghetti with chopsticks. While the brand was presumably trying to produce a humorous ad that would appeal to Chinese consumers, the videos instead struck all the wrong chords with its audience, criticized as being racist for its patronizing concept, the model’s overly stereotypical look, the voiceover’s condescending tone, and the fact that Shanghai was written in Japanese characters.
To top it all off, as the woman tries to eat the cannoli, the narrator pointedly asks her “is it too huge for you?”
The videos had been produced to promote the brand’s The Great Show in Shanghai, which had been scheduled for Wednesday night. While the clips were promptly removed from Weibo after inciting a furious backlash, they remain up on Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram account where they’ve been bombarded with outraged comments from Chinese netizens.
You can watch all three ads below:
On Wednesday, the day of the planned show, things somehow only got worse for Dolce & Gabbana with one Instagram user sharing screencaps of a conversation that he says he had with the brand’s co-founder Stefano Gabbana, in which Gabbana is alleged to have written the following:
Soon afterward, Gabbana claimed that the comments were not his and that Instagram account had been “hacked,” adding that he “loves China and Chinese culture.”
Dolce & Gabbana has also claimed that its official Instagram account was “hacked” as well after other racist and derogatory comments were attributed to the account in the comment war underneath its posts.
View this post on Instagram
Our Instagram account has been hacked. So has the account of Stefano Gabbana. Our legal office is urgently investigating. We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts, comments and direct messages. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China. Dolce & Gabbana 的官方Intragram 账号和 Stefano Gabbana 的 Instagram 账号被盗，我们已经立即通过法律途径解决。我们为这些不实言论给中国和中国人民造成的影响和伤害道歉。我们对中国和中国文化始终一贯的热爱与尊重。
All of this resulted in a number of Chinese celebrities and models publicly pulling out of the show and the hashtag “Boycott Dolce” going viral on Weibo. Eventually, less than four hours before showtime, Dolce & Gabbana announced that The Great Show would be “rescheduled” for a later date.
With all of Dolce & Gabbana work promoting the show now gone down the toilet, Chinese netizens have told the company not to let the door hit them on the way out:
— Ding Ding (@DingDing_2015) November 21, 2018
— 🎄 (@SydXmas) November 21, 2018
— ChrisJefferson (@reject_chris) November 21, 2018