In the wake of Dolce & Gabbana canceling its big Shanghai show following an extremely ill-conceived ad campaign, a hilarious parody of the brand's offensive video advertisements has hit Chinese social media.
Cross-border e-commerce site Yangmatou said on Weibo it had taken 58,000 D&G products down, adding that 'the Motherland is more important than anything else'. A JD.com Inc. spokesman confirmed to Caixin that all relevant items had been removed from its platform in the wake of the controversy.
The video was part of a "chop-stick instructional video" campaign and featured a Chinese model attempting to eat oversized Italian food with chopsticks.
A commentary on the WeChat account of the official People's Daily warned that "if one is not willing to understand China, eventually it will lose the China market and the benefits arising from China's growth".
On Wednesday, the company was forced to cancel a marquee show in Shanghai after various celebrities and social media users threatened to boycott it. Gabbana denies the messages were written by him, claiming that his account had been hacked, reposting the screenshot with "not me", emblazoned over the top in large red font.
The situation worsened when D&G founder Stefano Gabbana responded to the criticisms on Instagram by posting a series of insulting messages.
Celebrities including "Memoirs of a Geisha" movie star Zhang Ziyi criticized the brand, while singer Wang Junkai said he had terminated an agreement to be the brand's ambassador.More news: Two killed in attack at Chinese consulate in Pakistan's Karachi
Asia, and China in particular, is key to European luxury brands' success.
China is outraged with the great Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana after what appears to be back to back controversial stunts by the fashion brand.
"It was not simply a fashion show, but something that we created especially with love and passion for China and all the people around the world who love Dolce & Gabbana", they said.
The situation highlights some of the challenges worldwide brands face as they try to market to Chinese shoppers and do more business in the country. Dolce & Gabbana have already removed the videos from their Chinese social media channels, but not Instagram. In April previous year D&G offended the Chinese after an advertising campaign shot in Beijing featured only run-down and old neighbourhoods, eschewing the modern landscape the city is keen to promote. The narrator also pronounced "Dolce & Gabbana" in a Chinese accent and called the chopsticks "stick-shaped cutlery".
Multiple stores, including Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, have stopped selling Dolce & Gabbana merchandise.
"Once we're dead, we're dead", Gabbana said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera last spring.
When South Korea employed THAAD, a U.S. anti-ballistic missile defence system deployed in South Korea as tensions on the peninsula were rising, China quickly responded to THAAD with a ban on tour group travel to South Korea in the spring of 2017.