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D&G, H&M, Pepsi & more: Racist ads show tone-deaf marketing knows no border

The history of advertising is replete with fumbles ranging from Ford Motor Co.'s Edsel to New Coke. These more recent examples show that tone-deaf ads know no borders

dolce and gabbana ad campaign, backlash over ad , chinese ad
Dolce & Gabbana in China storm over videos seen as racist. (Photo: screenshot from YouTube channel-Entertainment is Fun)

Outrage is spreading in China over a video ad campaign for Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana that shows a Chinese model struggling to eat spaghetti and pizza with chopsticks.  This is hardly the first instance of brand managers thinking it’s a great idea to play with cultural stereotypes, only to be met with accusations of insensitivity or plain racism. Sometimes it’s a case of local teams not knowing what might cause offense in another country. Other times, the ad just isn’t funny – anywhere. China’s surging economy offers the juiciest ...