The brands are fucking up this week. Fiat Chrysler took a pummeling for choosing to using a speech from Martin Luther King Jr. to sell some trucks in a Super Bowl ad. Now Mercedes-Benz is hitting the apology circuit, after the German automaker quoted the Dalai Lama on Instagram.
Mercedes’ open apology was directed at China, which doesn’t take too kindly to the spiritual leader. Here’s Reuters to explain what happened:
In a statement on its official Weibo, the German car maker said it had deleted the controversial post immediately, and offered its sincerest apology to Chinese people, in a sign that foreign brands are growing more wary of the reputational damage that missteps on touchy political issues can bring.
In a “MondayMotivation” hashtagged post on Instagram, Mercedes showed one of its white cars on a beach along with a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama: “Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”
Chinese consumers immediately blasted the image, Reuters reports, as the Dalai Lama fled to India more than a half-century ago following a failed uprising against Chinese rule. So, for this, Mercedes is very sorry. More from Reuters:
“We will promptly take steps to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values, our international staff included, to help standardize our actions to ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again,” the Daimler-owned company said in the statement.
Foreign brands in China are trying to court Chinese shoppers who have growing purchasing power, but consumers and regulators are increasingly willing to challenge brands over actions that go against what Beijing deems appropriate.
It’s just one schmuck’s opinion, but I gotta say, maybe we’re learning our cherished brands are not good!