The luxury beauty label La Mer, dubbed “the caviar of the facial cream world,” has come under scrutiny from Chinese netizens thanks to a beauty blogger, with over one million Weibo followers, that has accused the brand of false advertising of its signature product Miracle Broth to consumers in China.
On September 26, the beauty blogger Hao Yu, nicknamed Doctor Big Mouth (大嘴博士), publicly called out La Mer, writing: “Yin-yang website, fake ads, LA MER, how long are you going to lie to Chinese consumers?”
The blogger compared a description of Miracle Broth moisturizing cream (priced from $210 to $2,496 (RMB 1,450-17,200)) on their Chinese website to descriptions on their Japanese and American sites. On the Chinese site, La Mer claimed the product has a restorative effect, and that it had repaired the product inventor’s burn scars. However, on both non-Chinese sites, La Mer only uses the word “soothing” to describe the function of the Miracle Broth product.
The blogger also quoted multiple anonymous product reviews by Chinese users complaining about failed restorative effects. In addition, he compared the formula of La Mer’s moisturizing cream with one of a cheaper product by NIVEA and stated they were virtually the same.
Based on this, Hao Yu inferred that the moisturizing cream did not include any restorative elements, and concluded that the brand had intentionally exaggerated the effect of Miracle Broth in China with the hopes that Chinese consumers would purchase more of it—something that would be a clear violation of Chinese advertising law.
The post went viral immediately, and by the time of this publication, had garnered 31,681 comments and 98,461 shares. The hashtag #lamer deceives Chinese consumers# (#lamer欺骗中国消费者#) soon climbed to the top of the Weibo trending list but disappeared shortly thereafter.
According to the earnings report by La Mer’s parent company Estée Lauder, La Mer has turned into a billion-dollar brand as of the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2018, and Chinese consumers were one of the main drivers of its success.
This news is likely to shake up the reputation of La Mer in China. Estée Lauder has not responded to the post yet, nor to our request for comment. However, many users have already taken to La Mer’s official Weibo account to protest.