Dior’s Pushy Relaunch of Iconic Bag Backfires in China

Marking the official return of one of its most iconic items – the “Saddle Bag” — the French luxury powerhouse Christian Dior rolled out a huge influencer campaign on a global scale late last week. Dozens of influencers, many of whom had apparently received the bag free, deluged social media platforms around the world with simultaneous endorsements.

The Chinese market was no exception, but one of Dior’s campaign videos featuring Hong Kong fashion influencer Elle Lee sparked a social media backlash over the weekend. Chinese netizens are mocking the video, calling it a dramatic degradation of the iconic (and Carrie Bradshaw-approved) bag, which retails for about $2,650-$6,000.

Here is the video posted on Dior China’s official Weibo account on July 20:

In the video, Lee visits a Dior store to try on the Saddle Bag with the help of the salesperson. She looks confident and joyful and poses in front of the camera. The goal of the video was to announce the global relaunch of the Saddle Bag and encourage Chinese consumers to purchase it. However, it served an opposite purpose, at least for now.

“This video seriously dragged down the cult status of the Saddle Bag,” wrote Weibo user “SherriesTs” under the post.

“Is Dior serious? The shooting angle and lighting of the video is absolutely kitsch, and it makes the bag look so cheap,” another user echoed. A user named “kaichequBBQ” made fun of it, writing “I thought this lady will teach us how to find discounts and coupons to buy it.”

By the time of this publication, the official post has been commented upon, mostly negatively, and shared by over 7,400 and 11,000 users, respectively. (In the U.S., many consumers on Twitter and Instagram found the campaign equally tone-deaf.)

When reached by Jing Daily, a spokesperson for Dior China said the video was not shot by the brand:

“This video is not a part of the official ad campaign for the Saddle Bag in China, but footage of how fashion influencer Elle Lee presents the bag. Elle Lee, as a winner of the Miss Hong Kong Pageant (in 2017), is active in the fashion circle and maintains a good relationship with Dior China.”

The fashion world’s beloved Saddle Bag first debuted in 1999 on the Dior Spring/Summer runway when creative talent John Galliano helmed the house. Earlier this year, the current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri added her spin on it and relaunched it to a global audience on July 19.

In the Chinese market, Dior worked with a slew of celebrities and influencers including Jing Tian and Leaf Greener to demonstrate the charm of the bag. On Weibo, the brand also posted several videos to showcase the craftsmanship of the bag.

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