A commercial for laundry soap that started airing this month in China is raising eyebrows — for all the wrong reasons.
The ad for Qiaobi shows a woman loading clothes into a washing machine when she is approached by a black man covered with splatters of paint.
She beckons him closer, sticks a soap packet in his mouth and stuffs him into the machine.
A few seconds later, the woman opens the lid and — surprise! — an Asian man emerges. And the paint splatters are gone.
Reaction on social media was swift and harsh, with many comments too salty to reprint.
As Shanghaiist reported, the ad is actually a copy of an Italian commercial for Coloreria detergent from 2007 — even the music is the same.
The big difference: in the earlier spot, an Italian man put into the washer is transformed into a black man, with the tag line “Coloured is better.”
Shanghaiist pointed out, “Thanks to traditional beauty standards valuing white skin, many Chinese people have a well-established phobia of dark skin which unfortunately also breeds racist attitudes towards people of African descent, who are viewed by some as “dirty” simply because of their skin tone.”