The world is now termed as a ‘globalised village’, and most of the credit goes to social media. In this digital age, brands are considering social media as one of the most important tools to convey their message. At the moment, a lot of business is being done through this channel, and various promotional methods are being used to maximise a campaign reach. With all that said, whether it delivers a positive effect that increases brand awareness or destroys consumer’s trust in the brand – all depends on the content being used.
Content is the crust of any campaign! In fact, it cannot be stressed enough how important content is to convince the followers to be part of a campaign. A well formulated content helps build trust and at the same time establishes a positive brand reputation. In the past, we have seen many examples that portray the power of it. One of the most recent examples would be of the newly released campaign of Dolce & Gabbana titled ‘DG loves China’.
The very famous Italian luxury fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana (DG) conceptualised a Chinese ad campaign that sparked outrageous hate and backlash towards the brand and the founders. The ad was to portray DG’s love towards China, however the content made a fall back! The ad is seen mocking the culture of China, and showcases a Chinese model struggling to eat a pizza using chopsticks. While in the background in a particularly garish error in the tone of a male narrator asking the model “is it too huge for you?”
And just as you may think, hate messages started pouring towards the brand on social media. After which the brand took down the ad (within 24 hours), however the damage was done! That did not calm down the angry crowd at all. Some users asked for an apology to be issued—in both Chinese and English.
This is not the first time the brand is under the scanner for making culturally insensitive ads. In the past, a DG campaign depicted China as a third-world country where models were seen mingling with poor Chinese people in underdeveloped areas of China. Now that’s absolutely not acceptable either!
With this campaign -the brand completely overlooked and bypassed the golden rules of marketing – where understanding a culture and the local market is important. Adding a local flavour to a campaign is not enough, the concept needs to be thought-after as well. During a crisis situation as such, the golden rule remains constant – be apologetic for the wrong! A crisis strategy is in coherence to try and subside a significant negative issue and hence knowing how to properly address a crisis issue will further prevent tarnishing the brand’s reputation and perhaps save the brand from further embarrassment.
Basis the past analysis, racism has been one of the factors, unknowingly brands let go off. The previous ad campaigns published by major brands like Dove, Pepsi, Nivea, from the rest, have missed out on understanding this subject, thus resulting to furious audience. One the other side, one of the most interesting exercise Starbucks did was conduct a workshop / training session to educate its employees on “racial-bias”. That’s a great initiative, isn’t it?
While we speak about using the apt strategy for crisis management, we also tend to ponder on the thoughts of negative marketing. Regardless of DG’s motive behind releasing the ad, their ad got noticed by not just their target audience, but also the rest. This probably boils down to – all publicity is good publicity!
It’s very true that social media can certainly make or break a brand! What’s important is to understand different angles of a campaign and take a note from how the audience would perceive the campaign.
It may take years for DG to recover from this disastrous campaign and earn back the trust of the Chinese consumers.
About Jpd PR
We are experts in Public Relations and Digital Marketing, with offices in Dubai and London. Our talented team provides our clients with the industry’s best PR strategy, social media management, SEO, content development and web services. At Jpd PR, we create simple, effective strategies that help them connect with their audience across every channel and grow business the way they can measure. We are honoured to have worked with some notable global clients, across key sectors.
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