A popular Chinese beverage chain landed in hot water after it was vehemently criticised for using sexist slogans on its merchandise, forcing the company to issue an apology and retract the offensive products.
The store named Sexy Tea shop, which has about 270 outlets across the country, was lambasted on social media for referring to women as a “bargain” on its mugs and for a quote saying customers could pick up gorgeous girls who come to the store.
It was not the first time the company used a sexually suggestive campaign to market its brand. In the past the shop sold tea bags with the slogan “Master, I want you” alongside the image of tadpoles.
The controversy erupted after the Sexy Tea shop put out their campaign with a range of “Changsha dialect mugs”- a dialect spoken in Central China’s Hunan Province where the brand originated.
The brand released a range of mugs with local slangs printed on them.
One phrase that mentioned the controversial phrase “Jian lou zi” which means to “get a bargain” read: “There are many gorgeous girls who come to us to buy tea. If you meet one by accident, you can secretly tell your mate that you had just jian lou zi.”
The picture of the controversial mug went viral on Chinese social media platform Weibo where people blasted the brand for a “disrespectful” and vulgar campaign.
“It’s not the phrase itself that is insulting – its the sentence example given by the company,” said a user. “Didn’t anyone in the marketing team see anything wrong with this?”
“Describing women as a bargain. I can’t believe this is an advertisement from today. Disappear you primal uncultured brand,” said another.
The company later issued an apology for the inappropriate marketing, saying they are “ashamed” and recalled the batch of the mugs in question.
“We made a very inappropriate sentence that even people in Changsha did not approve of…. we are very ashamed. We have absolutely no intention of disrespecting women,” it said.
“We will immediately recall the batch of Changsha dialect themed mugs and seriously reflect on this incident.”