How to insult China’s Chinese and lose big: The Dolce & Gabbana Pizza and Chopsticks Advert…

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Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian luxury fashion house founded in 1985 in Legnano by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The two met in Milan in 1980 and designed for the same fashion house. In 1982, they established a designer consulting studio; in time it grew to become “Dolce & Gabbana”. Wikipedia

6 December 2018

Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana’s brand image has taken a massive beating because of its controversial advertisement and co-founder Gabbana’s crude reaction on social media to the criticism, in which he mocked China as “a country of s***”, a YouGov survey has found.

The fallout from the “racist” ad, in which a Chinese model in a red D&G dress is trying to use chopsticks to eat pizza, spaghetti and a giant version of the Italian pastry cannoli, led to the company cancelling its Shanghai fashion show amid an onslaught of criticism from Chinese celebrities and internet users.

Even Chinese online shopping platforms such a Tmall, a business-to-consumer online retail site operated by Alibaba Group Holding and, among others, removed D&G items from their websites. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

D&G has since deleted the insensitive ads from their official Instagram account. The company’s two founders also apologised in a video post saying “sorry” in Mandarin five days after the fracas first erupted.

D&G’s overall brand health score fell from +3.3 to -11.4 among Chinese consumers in about a week after the fashion show was cancelled, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex, which measures public perception of thousands of brands across dozens of sectors.

BrandIndex compiles overall brand health based on consumer feedback on quality, value, satisfaction, recommendation and reputation.

It was also the biggest drop in public perception of a luxury fashion brand in China since market research company YouGov started to compile the BrandIndex in Asia about five years ago.

“It’s a very big and very significant drop,” said Ervin Ha, head of data products at YouGov, adding that this was the first time D&G image has been perceived as negative.

“It remains to be seen how long the downward trend continues and whether the company can salvage its brand image in the eyes of Chinese consumers.”

Dolce & Gabbana’s brand has fallen in favor among consumers in China since the release of its racist and sexist ads that made fun of chopsticks, which led e-commerce and retail giants to remove its products and the cancellation of its fashion show.

The Italian fashion brand health score has fallen 14.1 points with Chinese consumers, dropping from a relatively healthy score of +3.3 to -11.4, despite the founders of the brand releasing an apology video, according to YouGov.

The market research company’s BrandIndex data found a spike in the number of people seeing D&G ads but said the increase has been largely based on negative sentiment. D&G’s ad awareness score, which measures how many consumers have noticed a brand’s advertisements, was at +1.1. The viral nature of the ad saw its score rise to +12.1, an increase of 11 points.

However, its buzz score, which measures whether people have heard anything positive or negative about a brand, plummeted. A week before the fashion show was canceled, D&G’s buzz score was at +6.5, but subsequently fell to -15.0.

This indicates a drop of 21.5 points in under two weeks, a big fluctuation for a brand whose score had previously remained steady throughout the year.

With its recommended score, which measures whether people would recommend the brand to others, falling from +6.0 a week before the canceled show, to -15.3, according to YouGov, this indicates that consumers are now less likely to recommend the brand to friends and family.

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