The “dolphin skin” mask advertisement by Mask Family caused discomfort for some animal lovers. After being questioned by online friends, Mask Family apologized soon afterward. It was not the first advertisement of Mask Family to raise disputes. Before, an advertisement for a mung bean mask was accused of consuming women.
Recently, Mask Family launched an advertisement for the “dolphin skin” bionic mask. In the advertisement, the dolphin showed up and said the text with a human-like voice, “Sister, you’ve done hard work…The boss is a P… PT”. In addition to online platforms, the ad appeared on a large scale in the elevators of major office buildings.
Some office workers expressed discomfort after seeing the advertisement. A fellow netizen said bluntly, “Can this advertisement go down?” She questioned whether the dolphin could endorse itself for “using my skin to make masks for humans.” Moreover, some netizens pointed out that the use of “dolphin voice” is uncomfortable. “I’ve been putting up with the ad for a week,” said another online friend. “It really causes discomfort.” “It’s easy to think that the masks are made of dolphin skin,” some animal lovers complained.
Under the pressure of public opinion, Mask Family issued a statement on the evening of March 22, stating that it was sorry that the advertisement for the “dolphin skin” mask caused some misunderstandings. The brand had decided to remove the “dolphin skin” commercials for the elevators and said that no animals had been harmed during the shooting of the advertisement. The “dolphin skin” mask does not contain any animal leather, it only means that the texture of the film of the mask is as smooth and delicate as that of dolphin skin.
According to the introduction on the official website of Mask Family, the brand was founded in 2007, with the parent company being Shanghai Yuemu Cosmetics Co., Ltd.. It is a professional skincare brand specializing in masks for 14 years and has 21 core patents for masks. The products include film masks, mud masks, washable masks, sleeping masks, and other care categories. In addition, the brand claims that (exposure of) its product advertising reached a total of 322 million in 2021.
The mung bean mud mask is the star product, which retails for $20 in the official Mask Family flagship store on Taobao(a Chinese mainstream e-commerce platform). The store claims to have sold more than 5.03 million bottles of the mask in total since its launch in 2008, and has sold over 440,000 bottles during the 11.11 promotional event in 2020.
The “dolphin skin” mask event has led many netizens with good memories to bring up old stories, reminding people that this is not the first time the brand has raised disputes because of advertising.
In October 2021, Mask Family was accused of “consuming women and making sexual suggests” for an advertisement for the mung bean mask aired in the elevators. In the ad, a woman repeatedly shouted, “Give me back my innocence”, “Women love innocence” and other slogans.
There have been successful cases of advertising for Mask Family. During the 3.8 Women’s Day promotional event which has recently passed, Mask Family published an advertisement in the elevators, which is particularly simple compared to the two ads above. On a white page, there is only a few words of text: “Today is a off day for our ad staff. Life is not easy for Chinese girls, have an early rest.” Although there was a small line of words at the bottom of the advertisement: “The ad was bought out on March 8 by Mask Family’s ‘dolphin skin’ bionic mask for you”, it was still praised by many female workers and said it was heart-warming.
From the above advertising events, it is clear that Mask Family has been working hard on advertising marketing, and most of the advertising text refers to women: the “dolphin skin” mask advertisement contains the word “sister”, the mung bean mud mask advertisement contains the word “women”, and the commercial for the 3.8 Women’s Day contains the word “girls”. This may be because almost all the target consumers of its products are women. However, although the products can target at the women group, the advertising consumption of women is not the correct way. To make itself known out of the circle with advertising innovation, the brand needs to take the right path, provide the consumers with a sense of respect, and enhance the sense of social responsibility as a corporate. Only then, public questioning can be avoided