Celebrity endorser’s alleged diva behavior causes headache for Louis Vuitton

    A social media storm with over 130 million views was sparked when a VIP client accused LV’s ambassador Zhou Dongyu of unfriendly behavior during a Paris photo-op
    Zhou Dongyu attends Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2024 fashion show in Paris. Photo: @zhoudongyu/Instagram
      Published   in KOL

    What happened

    A 20 year old London-Shanghai based VIP client of Louis Vuitton, instagram user Yvette (@yvetttttee_x), accused one of the brand’s China ambassadors of being unfriendly and uncooperative during a Paris Fashion week post-show meet-and-greet on March 5.

    The critical post about award-winning actress Zhou Dongyu was later picked up and reposted to Weibo by netizens, rapidly going viral across Chinese social media. The hashtag “Zhou Dongyu criticized for being uncooperative” (周冬雨被吐槽不配合) skyrocketed to the top of Weibo’s hot search list that week, racking up 130 million views to date.

    Louis Vuitton and their ambassador have not responded to the accusations. But with so many views and debate sparked online, should either party attempt to comment for damage control, or just let this conversation run its course and chalk it down to being “much ado about nothing”?

    The Jing Take

    According to the VIC, Louis Vuitton organized the photo-op session for her and five other top clients who had been invited to the Paris show. Celebrity ambassadors of a maison like this are generally tasked with taking photos with VIPs and special guests, partly to promote the looks online and partly as a reward to loyal customers.

    Instagram user Yvette (@yvetttttee_x) shared a picture on the platform featuring Elieen Gu, second right, purportedly taken at the Louis Vuitton post-show meet-and-greet. Photo: @yvetttttee_x/Instagram.
    Instagram user Yvette (@yvetttttee_x) shared a picture on the platform featuring Elieen Gu, second right, purportedly taken at the Louis Vuitton post-show meet-and-greet. Photo: @yvetttttee_x/Instagram.

    In now-deleted posts, Yvette praised the other celebrities taking part – Liu Yifei, Victoria Song, Nana Ouyang, and Eileen Gu – for engaging with the guests in a friendly, polite manner, whilst noting that Zhou seemed unwilling to fulfill her role and appeared uncooperative and unhappy during the meeting.

    “You wore slippers, and didn’t want to take your jacket off. You had a long face the entire time. You didn’t even respond when we said ‘hi’ to you. If you don’t want to work, then don’t. No wonder people don't like you. I’ve reported this to LVMH,” Yvette had posted on Instagram.

    After the post went viral in China, some netizens resurfaced past allegations of Zhou’s mistreatment of colleagues and co-stars.

    “To be honest, it matches my impressions of Zhou Dongyu, but since she is endorsing the brand, she should take her job more seriously, especially when this is for promotion,” one netizen Wenruye (@温如也) wrote on Weibo.

    Others were skeptical of the allegation against the star, who is the youngest actress to have won gongs from all three top film awards in the Chinese-speaking world: the Taipei Golden Horse Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards, and the Golden Rooster Awards.

    “Without video evidence, I find it hard to believe. Zhou Dongyu has gone through tough times in recent years, facing various criticisms," posted Hongkang101 (@宏康101) on Weibo.

    Following the viral post, Yvette wrote that she had no intention of causing a social media uproar. “I just shared my daily life, and vented a little on my personal account with my few followers. I don’t even know her [Zhou],” she wrote.

    While Louis Vuitton seems to have escaped criticism for now, this incident serves as a reminder for brands that celebrity endorsements can be a precarious game and double-edged sword. It also raises the question of what a brand should do when one of its celeb representatives goes rogue, or in this case, just upsets a client.

    Choosing silence risks losing control of the narrative, while wading in could reignite debate, attracting more unwanted attention.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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