Chanel’s International Women’s Day Ad Flop

    On International Women’s Day, a Chanel perfume ad was called out by Chinese netizens for its “poor copywriting,” even stating that it was “misogynistic.”
    Chanel's brand ambassador's latest promotional post revealed a problematic message. Photo: Shutterstock
    Ruonan ZhengAuthor
      Published   in Finance

    As fashion and luxury brands pushed out their campaigns to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, a Chanel perfume advertisement was called out by Chinese netizens for its “poor copywriting,” even stating that it was “misogynistic.”

    Screenshot of Chanel brand ambassador's promotional post on Weibo.
    Screenshot of Chanel brand ambassador's promotional post on Weibo.

    The controversy didn’t originate from the brand’s official account but was spotted on a Weibo post from Chanel’s brand ambassador, Xin Zhilei. Along with several pictures of Xin posing with Chanel perfume bottles, the caption said, “Women who don’t know how to wear perfume don’t have a future.” Once published, netizens quickly expressed their concerns about the post: “What is this copywriting?” “I like you, but I don’t like this caption.” Meanwhile, fans of Xin defended her by stating that the line was actually first said by the brand’s legendary founder Coco Chanel herself.

    Despite the controversy about whose fault it was, Xin quickly took down the post and explained in a new post: “I was going to express my best wishes to my fellow females out there, but it turned out I was misunderstood. Sorry, I will go over my Chinese lesson now…Happy Women’s Day sisters, your future is in your own hands.”

    As of publishing, Xin’s post has garnered 6,300 shares, 31,200 likes, and 8,400 comments, with fans showing forgiveness and replied: “It’s all good, make sure to proofread next time!” Or “We are with you!” Chanel, however, has yet to respond or comment on this event.

    The Jing Take

    With so much information on the COVID-19 virus circulating on Weibo, Xin’s Chanel International Woman’s Day post didn’t gain enough attraction to stay on Weibo’s trending list and complaints have since died down due to Xin’s quickly released apology note to clarify her intentions. However, it remains an important lesson for brands to check their campaign language carefully, even of their brand ambassador’s posts.Women’s Day is regarded internationally as a major event to celebrate women’s diversity and independence. Any missteps could be easily held against the brand and damage the relationship that has been long built among this important demographic.

    The Jing Take reports on a leading piece of news while presenting our editorial team’s analysis of its key implications for the luxury industry. In this recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debates that sprout up on Chinese social media.

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