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Dolce & Gabbana issue belated apology for offensive ad campaign

Dolce & Gabbana have finally apologised, after an allegedly racist campaign advertising the fashion label’s first show in Shanghai provoked nationwide outrage in China and amid the Chinese diaspora living elsewhere.

The campaign which ran across Dolce & Gabbana’s social media channels poked fun at a young Chinese woman trying to eat Italian food with chopsticks. The videos were deemed culturally insensitive and one of them was rife with double entendre.

The fallout saw the brand’s first show in Shanghai being cancelled by the Chinese authorities hours before it was scheduled to start. Many of Dolce & Gabbana’s endorsers publicly distanced themselves from the brand even as leading Chinese e-commerce sites removed it from their stores.

In the apology video, Domenico Dolce said: “Our families have always taught us to respect the various cultures in all the world. And this is why we want to ask for your forgiveness if we have made mistakes in interpreting yours.” Stefanno Gabbana added: “We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again. In fact, we will work to do things better.”

The apology made no allusion to a conversation an Instagram user allegedly had with Gabbana in which he used offensive language and imagery while describing the Chinese. When screenshots of the conversation began doing the rounds last week, the brand instead claimed its Instagram account and that of Gabbana had been hacked.

The fashion house made things worse by not apologising on time, and by having the offensive campaign feature prominently on all its non-China centric web platforms, even as the groundswell of protest grew global in nature.

The apology too is being parsed across the internet and is widely found wanting, considering Dolce uses the words “if we have made mistakes” twice through the course of the video.

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