British luxury brand Burberry has become yet another Western label to cause outrage among Chinese consumers following a promo campaign celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Burberry touted the campaign as a "portrait of togetherness, gathering the cross generations of family for a seasonal celebration". It features a series of promotional "family photos" and stars popular Chinese actresses Zhao Wei and Zhou Dongyu, who were recently named brand ambassadors.
Introducing our new collection, curated for #BurberryChineseNewYear— Burberry (@Burberry) 3 января 2019 г.
A portrait of togetherness, gathering the cross generations of family for a seasonal celebration. Starring #ZhaoWei and #ZhouDongyu; directed and photographed by @EthJGreen
The ad, which apparently aimed to boost the brand's popularity and sales in China, instead stirred controversy on social media — what raised the eyebrows of commenters was not the clothes but their deadpan facial expressions.
A user on Weibo, China's biggest social media platform, branded Burberry models "a group of people who want to kill this ultra-rich grandma and keenly fight over her inheritance", according to Jing Daily, a digital publication on Chinese fashion.
Others described the photos as "creepy" and having a funeral feel. "First Balenciaga, then Dolce & Gabbana, and now Burberry? Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions, joy and luck. These people look like actors in a horror movie," wrote a Weibo user, as quoted by Channel News Asia.
This is not the first time Chinese customers have criticised a European fashion house. Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana faced a boycott in China after its co-founder, Stefano Gabbana, called it a "country of sh*t" and "ignorant dirty smelling mafia". His comments came after D&G's promotional clip with an Asian model eating traditionally Italian pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks was deemed disrespectful by some commenters.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana subsequently issued a joint apology, asking for forgiveness and vowing to "respect the Chinese culture in every possible way".