Sexist advert for virtual boyfriends exasperate women
China’s female smartphone gamers blast company for stereotyping
The team behind the game Love and Producer may need to re-evaluate how to win hearts in China.
The South China Morning Post reports that a new series of promotional videos seem to suggest that women are desperate to find wealthy husbands, and are incapable of distinguishing the virtual world from reality.
In one, women traveling on a coach get into a childish argument over whose digital boyfriend is the best. In another, friends take turns calling their real-life partners, thanking them for money and gifts they’ve received. Then a woman -- presumably single -- shows off four of her virtual partners on several smartphones.
In the last video, a woman, seemingly remorseful after being berated by her mother for not having a boyfriend, tells her that she has found a man who treats her well -- and also happens to be the chairman of a company. She is, of course, referring to her virtual boyfriend.
The ad campaign prompted immediate backlash from Chinese social media users, accusing PapeGames of perpetuating a sexist view of contemporary women. In response, the company took down the videos and apologized.
China’s young, affluent women are becoming increasingly aware of their depiction in advertisements. Brands that get it right are handsomely rewarded, while those that fail to meet expectations come under harsh criticism.
Last year, Ikea was pressured to withdraw a Chinese TV commercial showing a woman scolding her daughter for not bringing home a boyfriend.
But in 2016, Japanese skincare brand SK-II won praise in China with a viral video ad featuring single, professional women describing the social pressure they face to get married in their 20s. Reports say sales of SK-II products increased by 50% between June 2016 and February 2017.