What Brands Can Learn From Audi/Infiniti Ad Flop & More

In “Headlines from China,” we share the biggest news stories about the luxury industry in China that have yet to make it into the English language. In this week’s edition, we discuss:

  • What brands can learn from the Audi and Infiniti ad flop about crisis PR;
  • Versace becomes the designated brand for a government-led Chinese film festival;
  • Louis Vuitton collaborates with Gen-Z’s favorite platform, Bilibili

What Brands Can Learn From the Audi and Infiniti Ad Flop About Crisis PR – Brandvista 
On October 13, a WeChat Moment ad surfaced online — an Infiniti car ad was showing under Audi’s WeChat account. Netizens quickly spotted this mistake, as did Tencent’s ad team, which took down the ad and offered a refund to Audi. According to Tencent, the ad was exposed 3,935 times with a total spend of nearly $30 (202 yuan) by then. But it was Audi’s reaction that attracted social buzz that’s well beyond the $30.

Infiniti first responded, in an animated tone: “Audi brother, I got you. This is the gift to my 30 years old birthday, let’s look to the future and unleash our potentials together.” Audi replied: “I like your name, Infinite possibility is my motto, hope we can embrace the future together. Love, Audi.” Volvo joined in by tagging Audi on Weibo and jokingly asked: “My friend, can you promote us as well?” The interactions among car brands quickly jumped on the Weibo trending list, with netizens having fun watching them solve this PR crisis with grace. Marketers analyzed how Audi reacted to the incident following the 5S principles of crisis PR, which includes: Shouldering the matter, Sincerity, Speed, System, and Standard. They urged more brands to look at this as a textbook example for handling crisis PR in China.

Versace Becomes the Designated Brand For a Government-led Chinese Film Festival – Sina 
On November 11, Versace was designated as the only fashion brand for the government-led Chinese film festival, Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival. This is the latest move made by the Italian brand to build a positive public image in China since their T-shirt controversy, where Versace was criticized for supporting Hong Kong independence. Established in 1992, and co-hosted by China Film Association and China Literature and Art Association, the festival is one of the most prestigious in China. This year it named actress Yao Chen to be the spokesperson and will be held in Xiamen, China from November 19 to 23.

Louis Vuitton Collaborates With Gen-Z’s Favorite Platform Bilibili – BoF China 
Louis Vuitton is eyeing the virtual-obsessed young generation in China with the latest partnership with Bilibili, a Gen-Z favorite video streaming site. It invites users on Bilibili to try on an AR filter and transform themselves into a female character in the League of Legends. Users can also submit their own videos using this filter and invite more friends to join. This is yet another effort after the brand announced their collaboration with League of Legends earlier this year, where it allowed gamers to dress their avatars in LV’s capsule collection skins.