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Dolce & Gabbana's branding at all time low in China after racist ad scandal


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

December 5, 2018 | 3 min read

Dolce & Gabbana’s brand has fallen in favor among consumers in China since the release of its racist and sexist ads that made fun of chopsticks, which led e-commerce and retail giants to remove its products and the cancellation of its fashion show.


The Italian fashion brand health score has fallen 14.1 points amongst Chinese consumers.

The Italian fashion brand health score has fallen 14.1 points with Chinese consumers, dropping from a relatively healthy score of +3.3 to -11.4, despite the founders of the brand releasing an apology video, according to YouGov.

The market research company’s BrandIndex data found a spike in the number of people seeing D&G ads but said the increase has been largely based on negative sentiment. D&G’s ad awareness score, which measures how many consumers have noticed a brand’s advertisements, was at +1.1. The viral nature of the ad saw its score rise to +12.1, an increase of 11 points.


However, its buzz score, which measures whether people have heard anything positive or negative about a brand, plummeted. A week before the fashion show was canceled, D&G’s buzz score was at +6.5, but subsequently fell to -15.0.

This indicates a drop of 21.5 points in under two weeks, a big fluctuation for a brand whose score had previously remained steady throughout the year.

With its recommended score, which measures whether people would recommend the brand to others, falling from +6.0 a week before the canceled show, to -15.3, according to YouGov, this indicates that consumers are now less likely to recommend the brand to friends and family.

“Whatever its motivation for releasing them, it seems as though Chinese consumers have noticed D&G’s questionable ads,” said Ervin Ha, the head of data products for the Asia Pacific at YouGov.

“While its awareness might have increased, it is to the detriment of its brand health. It remains to be seen how long the downward trend continues and whether the company can salvage its brand image in the eyes of Chinese consumers.”

The downfall of D&G has seen its competitors like Gucci benefiting, with its Index score improving by 3.6 points since in the same time frame while Prada’s rose by 3.1 points.


It remains to be seen if D&G can recover from this saga. Agencies based in China like WE Red Bridge and Stink Shanghai recently spoke to The Drum about how they work with global brands to hit the right note in China.

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