A Singapore-based Chinese medicine company is under fire in Hong Kong for a controversial television commercial that has sparked calls for a boycott of its products.
Eu Yan Sang, which operates a retail chain in Hong Kong, is the object of more than 550 complaints to the media watchdog from citizens outraged by its depiction of violence in the commercial, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
The commercial shows a boy with bloodied hands and a fierce-looking dog standing behind him. The child is next shown with outreached arms before a man holding a stick, suggesting the boy is trying to protect the animal.
Metta Communications, the company behind the commercial, said the clip is meant to convey man’s caring nature through the young boy.
The theme was inspired by the English translation of “yan sang”, which means “caring for mankind”, it said.
Netizens were quick to tear the message apart, saying it implies the dog harmed the child.
They called on people to send complaint letters to the company and urged them to boycott its products.
Mark Mak, executive chairman of Hong Kong non-profit Veterinary Service Society, said although the commercial is well intentioned, there is nothing in it that shows man’s caring nature.
He said all it shows is a ferocious dog and a vengeful man.
In a statement, Eu Yan Sang said the message from the commercial is not clear enough and promised to make changes but stopped short of saying whether the clip will be pulled.
Founded in 1879, the company also operates in Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and mainland China.
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