The Italian luxury brand released 2018 a marketing campaign called “tribute to China” which showed a Chinese model struggling to eat pizza, spaghetti and cannoli using chopsticks. Clearly, the campaign was low on sensitivity and high on Chinese cultural stereotypes.
A few days later, a screenshot of an Instagram discussion by Stefano Gabbana came out, in which he used the poo emoji to describe China.
As a result, the fashion house faced serious backlash on social media. The brand was forced to cancel at the last minute an extravagant show in Shanghai. Moreover, retailers in mainland China and Hong Kong have stopped selling D&G products, followed by the biggest e-commerce Chinese platforms Alibaba and JD.com, who pulled the brand from their websites. The damages made to the brand increased when their Chinese brand’s ambassadors, including Karry Wang Junkai (member of the band TFBoys) and the actress Dilireba terminated their contracts with the brand. It instantly turned into a financial loss for Dolce & Gabbana, and resulted in a lack of trust by Chinese consumers, costing them future business with the demographic as well.