German luxury carmaker Audi has come under fire in China for an advertisement that compared buying a second-hand car to checking out a bride-to-be.
Thousands of people took to online forums to vent against what they described as a sexist ad that was demeaning to women, Reuters reports.
In a commercial that has gone viral since being aired online and in cinemas this week, a mother-in-law is seen examining her son’s bride as the young couple wait at the altar to be married.
In the 30-second ad, the groom’s mother rushes to the podium, checking out the bride’s eyes, before pinching her nose and ears, and pulling open her mouth to check on teeth.
In the attempted play on a common stereotype of fussy Chinese parents, a voice over says: “Important decisions must be made carefully … Only with an official certification can you relax.”
The ad, which was for an approved retailer of Audi second hand cars, touched a nerve amongst Chinese consumers, with many people saying it objectified women.
“This is really low taste. Isn’t this like what people do when trading cattle?” a person commented on the Weibo microblogging platform, echoing the views of many other Chinese netizens.
On the popular WeChat messaging service, nearly half a million people mentioned “Audi second hand car” on Tuesday.
Following the heavy criticism, Audi said on Wednesday that it deeply regrets the ad and that it has pulled the commercial.
The perception created by the ad “does not correspond to the values of our company in any way,” the company said, adding that it is taking steps to ensure that such mistake doesn’t happen again.
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