Burberry, one of the most famous luxury brands in the world, recently caused havoc on Chinese internet with their new product – a scarf with the Chinese character for prosperity (福) embroidered on it. This character is often used in Chinese New Year decorations and is seen as a sign of good luck. Clearly Burberry thought that if they threw the character on a scarf, it would sell millions of them China.
As it turned out, the Chinese positively hated it…
When one Weibo user came across Burberry’s New Year’s scarf and shared images of it on the social network, the post garnered nearly 15,000 shares in just five days, with nearly 4,000 comments, almost all of which were negative. The scarf is made from wool and printed with the signature Burberry pattern. On the company’s website, the product is described to “celebrate the joys of Chinese New Year and the prosperity of the Year of the Goat”. At a pricey 5,750 RMB (US$919), the scarf comes in three colors: stone, charcoal and camel.
However, netizens were completely unimpressed by this gesture. One commented that the scarf looked like “it costs 35 RMB (US$5.60)”. Another complained that even his colleague’s mother wouldn’t buy something so unfashionable.
Burberry definitely miscalculated their strategies this time. According to critics, Chinese consumers actually harbor a strong dislike for anything ‘Made in China’ so they would rather buy American or European brands. The Chinese character on the Burberry scarf had the opposite effect – it made the product look like a cheap knock-off.