Audi AG has come to the spotlight from consumers in China for an advert that compared a second-hand or used car to checking out a future bride.
The video, by the used Audi division, has gone viral since it was aired online and in movie theaters this week, which portrayed a mother-in-law is seen interrupting the wedding between the her son and the bride before she approaches the altar and is examining the bride’s eyes, pinching her nose and ears, and opening her mouth to check her teeth, before she gives the son an okay, an attempted play on the common stereotype of picky Chinese parents.
A voiceover then says, “Important decisions must be made carefully. . . only with an official certification can you relax.
Thousands of Chinese consumers saw the advert and went online to mock the advertisement. The vocal consumers claimed that the ad was sexist, demeaning, and objectified women. On the popular chatting app, WeChat, it was blown up by nearly half a million people mentioning “Audi second hand car”.
Yaoxiaozi said in one of the microblogs, “This is really low taste. Isn’t it like what people do when trading cattle?”
This negative social media reaction in China can have a large scale effect on the brand. With the advert going viral online, many of China’s public claim they will not be purchasing from such a disrespectful company.
The video was taken down by Audi and then mentioned in a statement that the advert “does not correspond to the values of our company in any way,” and then led to an investigation to make sure an incident like this does not happen again.
Although this advert has caused a setback in the Chinese consumer market, the company is still looking into the Chinese market for potential growth, as the emergence of personal wealth and private enterprises drive up the sales.