P&G apologized for the controversial incident caused by its advertisement. Previously, P&G released an advertisement titled “women’s foot odor is five times worse than male’s” on its WeChat public account, which was questioned to be insulting to women. Netizens commented on this article as “seriously uncomfortable”. The advertisement has been deleted, and the topic of P&G apologizing has been soared on the top of China’s mainstream social media platform Weibo’s hot trend list.
On March 13, Beijing Time, Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) posted an article titled “women’s foot odor is five times worse than male’s. You can smell it if you don’t believe it.” on its official Wechat public accounts. It said that women’s foot sweat gland is five times the amount of men’s because women’s foot bacteria reproduction speed is 2,300 percent, much higher than men’s 400 percent.
On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, a lot of Chinese netizens accused P&G of wanting to get money from females while not showing enough respect for women.
After the uproar, P&G later deleted the WeChat article. On March 28, Beijing Time, it is found that P&G’s WeChat public account “P&G Member Center” was canceled. The account shows that the public account is into the independent cancellation period and the related function can not be used.
The company also published an apology on its official social media account on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, saying that the company always advocates equality, inclusion, and respect. It also said the company has “seriously rectified” the WeChat account’s operation, and will deeply reflect on the matter to prevent such bizarreness from happening again.
Founded in 1837, Procter & Gamble is one of the global giants of consumer goods companies. Procter & Gamble is well known in the daily chemical market and its products include shampoo, haircare, skincare, cosmetics, baby care products, and so on. It owns multiple famous brands including SK-II, OLAY, Safeguard, Rejoice, and others.
In fact, this is not the first time P&G screw up.
On December 17, 2021, P&G was revealed to have detected cancer-causing chemicals that should not be added to its dry hair spray due to the chemical interaction between the substance in the bottle and the packaging bottle. It has voluntarily recalled the product and denied intentionally touching the risk of safety. Similar to that, in 2017, products from P&G’s VS Sassoon, Pantene, Herbal Essences, Head&Shoulders, and other four brands were detected dioxane. And P&G responded with the same statement: the ingredients were not added by P&G intentionally.
It is understood that last year’s same festival of Women’s Day on March 8, P&G’s brand Pantene also caused unacceptable comments from netizens, for it removed the part of the representative of women in its logo in Chinese characteristics in its promotional marketing. Some netizens said: “I am a woman. Why does Pantene remove the female in its Chinese name? Never again will I use this brand’s products.” Some netizens also think that this represents gender bias. Since this ad tends to promote female independence, there is no need for it to remove the female part.
After P&G’s apology, Chinese netizens did not accept it. Multiple mainstream media also commented on that matter.
In the comment of the post of P&G’s apology, some netizens said: “I chose other brands to place orders. It (P&G) doesn’t show any respect and care to our female consumers.” Some netizens placed a list of P&G’s brands and called for a boycott of those brands including SK-II, Olay, Safeguard, and so on.
China Women’s News, a publication of All-China Women’s Federation, also decried the post from P&G in an editorial. “Personal hygiene habits shouldn’t be attributed to a specific gender, and it’s not desirable to sell products without being objective about things and respecting others. Using plausible arguments to gain attention while tarnishing women will not get the customers,” it said.
It is worth noting that on March 26, a Chinese legal professional post on Weibo stating that the article posted by P&G blatantly fabricated facts. It is suspected to insulted, slandered, defamed and denigrated women, which violated Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Public Security Administration Punishments Law of the People’s Republic of China. She proposed that Guangzhou Market Supervision would impose a fine of more than $31,380 and less than $156,900 on Guangzhou Procter & Gamble Company Ltd. according to the law. This post has received 77,000 likes and has been retweeted 34,000 times.