Retail in Asia


Audi suffers from plagiarism controversy in China

Andy Lau, a well-known Chinese celebrity, has been accused of plagiarism in regards to his monologue in the latest Audi advertisement.

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Lau was front and centre of Audi’s campaign, launched late last week, sitting in the back seat of an Audi discussing the eighth of 24 solar terms, Xiaoman. In the Chinese lunar calendar, Xiaoman marks the time when summer gradually becomes the dominant season, and the grains beginto ripen. In traditional Chinese culture, it isbelieved by some that this period represents the best stage of life where one can pursue their way to perfection and fullness. Following Mr Lau’s Xiaoman address in the advertisement, the viewer is introduced to Audi and is encouraged to drive it to pursue fullness.

Mr Lau’s monologue allegedly rips off a popular vlogger Beida Mange’s post from 2021. Beida detailed the plagiarism in a seven minute video to his 3.7 million followers on Douyin, China’s TikTok equivalent. The confrontational video noted how themes were copied from his post including “an original poem,” even citing specific word-for-word plagiarism peppered throughout the ad.

China’s internet was set alight in response to Beida Mange’s post, with half of Weibo’s top-10 trending topics on 29th May being related to the scandal. The hashtag #奥迪小满广告抄袭 (#AudiXiaomanAdPlagiarism) gained 520 million views and 44,000 comments on Weibo. Audi’s apology hashtag drew another 320 million views and #AudiAndyLau clocked 150 million, in addition to the fervent spread on WeChat and Douyin.

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Audi has a well established crisis management plan and was quick to remove the video and apologise for the plagiarism controversy. As a result, it is predicted that most Chinese consumers will continue purchasing from the brand once the crisis settles. Greater China is still likely to account for over 40 percent of its global sales. The exposure for Audi in the video has been significant, with more than 5 million likes of the video on Andy Lau’s Douyin account alone. Beida Mange, who claims to have made the original content, has also seen a jump in profile.

(Source : China Skinny)