The world may be shrinking, but it’s still not so small that an ad campaign that worked out just fine in one location, is viewed as insulting in another. Italian luxury label Dolce & Gabbana discovered this fact when it visited Beijing and shot the latest installation in a roving campaign that shows models out and about on the city’s streets.
Titled “DG Loves China,” the campaign included many of the same elements as the “DG Loves Japan” campaign and the “DG Loves Hong Kong” one before it. In both locations, models were shot interacting with locals at major landmarks, but also in places known to be off the beaten path.
In Japan, the campaign went off without a hitch, but was viewed with mixed emotions in China, where some thought the luxury label was trying to make the city look bad because it included images of everyday citizens, whose appearance paled in comparison to the models who were professionally made up and dressed in designer clothing.
On Chinese social media site Weibo, there was a mix of a opinions, but according to The Beijinger, most of the comments were negative. “Isn’t this an insult to China? Why don’t they go to places like Sanlitun and Guomao instead? Why do they go find an old uncle that collects garbage to be part of their photo shoot?” wrote one.
Commenters also thought the backdrops used for the Japanese campaign were more tasteful and showed civilians who looked better overall than the ones used in the Beijing campaign.
In SupChina, one Weibo user was quoted as suggesting Chinese people dress better, adding there should be restrictions on where foreigners can photograph. “I guess everyone Chinese should examine themselves before going out. What they wear and where they are going. Are you being a drag on China’s image? If yes, you are not qualified to be Chinese. Meanwhile, we should learn from North Korea to designate a specific area for foreigners to take photos,” wrote the commenter.
The complaints about positioning the models next to working Chinese people are not unfair. As a practice, it’s probably a good idea if global luxury brands use something other than poor and working-class people as flavor-adding props for their photoshoots.
Another issues is payment for the non-models. One would guess that if they lacked professional representation and were plucked from the street, they were paid much less than the models if they received any compensation as all.
Check out the images below and see what you think.
— Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) April 17, 2017