According to The Wall Street Journal, Heng Yuan Xiang Group, a top Chinese wool producer, wanted to celebrate its sponsorship of this summer’s Beijing Olympics. So the wool company began running a 60-second ad in February, during the celebration of Lunar New Year, China’s biggest holiday.
When the Chinese public first saw the ad, some people thought their TV sets were broken. Viewers savaged the commercial in print media and online, some calling it intolerable or singling it out as the worst spot they had ever seen.
The backlash suggests that increasingly sophisticated Chinese consumers are rejecting low-budget, low-quality marketing.
The arrival of foreign ad agencies in the 1990s, together with the rapid expansion of the nation’s middle class, altered Chinese consumers’ expectations, the Journal surmises.