Samsung mocked after it partners with the “wrong” Supreme brand
In China, Samsung is collaborating with Supreme. But not the Supreme you might be thinking of.
At the launch party of the Galaxy A8s this Monday, Samsung reps were joined on stage by a special guest to mark their new partnership: A man wearing a jacket with the distinctive red logo of Supreme. Except netizens claimed that Supreme -- the hip New York streetwear brand -- doesn’t actually make that jacket.
Turns out that Samsung isn’t partnering with the Supreme you might know. Instead, it’s a “legally fake” Supreme, namely Supreme Italia, thanks to trademark loopholes in China.
It's a really bad look for Samsung, coming right after the company got caught using a DSLR photo to promote a smartphone camera, and it’s made the company a laughing stock on Chinese social media.
Samsung’s response? Supreme Italia is the only Supreme that can operate in China, and therefore their partnership is legit. Their statement said, “Supreme NYC has no sales and marketing authorization in China, but Supreme Italia has obtained product sales and market authorization in the Asia Pacific region.”
The original Supreme came out to strongly deny that they had anything to do with this -- and slam Supreme Italia. The company said, “Supreme is not working with Samsung, opening a flagship location in Beijing or participating in a Mercedes-Benz runway show.”
“These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization,” it added.
It’s another strange tale in the world’s biggest smartphone maker’s struggle in the world’s biggest smartphone market. The company recently said in the country that its mobile division is “in crisis”, with Reuters reporting that its market share has fallen from 20% to just about 1% in five years.
Following the incident, Chinese netizens mocked Samsung.
“Look at you. If you partnered with some Chinese brands like Li-Ning, you would have saved yourself a ton of trouble and it’d help endear you to Chinese consumers,” a Weibo user wrote.
Another Weibo user wrote, “Samsung has failed completely.”
Others turned to humor, with a Weibo user writing, “I advise Samsung to consider partnering with American New Boom.” (New Boom is a popular counterfeit of New Balance.)
But after all, it’s understandable that Samsung wants to partner with Supreme, because the streetwear brand is massively popular in China. It’s a status symbol for the rich and fashionable (or those that aspire to be rich and fashionable).
Not only that, Supreme knock offs are everywhere in China. Apparel with Supreme logos are found at cornershops and farmer’s markets.
Besides being a fashion item, Supreme has also become an internet phenomenon. Netizens routinely create memes using the Supreme logo, saying that the Supreme logo can make anything look more fashionable.