A bizarre television advertisement that aims to get Chinese to behave better while traveling abroad features humans dressed up as giant panda bears and doing things like defacing property, littering and urinating in public.
China Central Television released the commercial featuring the misbehaving pandas—meant to depict Chinese people-- sleeping on park benches, pushing past elderly citizens, spraying graffiti on a tree and even urinating in public along Australia’s famed Sydney Harbor.
The ad, produced in conjunction with ad agency DDB China, closes with the tag line, “Be a good panda, be a good tourist.”
Some Chinese people are calling the ad insulting and insensitive.
“CCTV glorifies this ad, which insults all Chinese people, by calling it a public service announcement. Such ‘low-quality’ citizens are in the minority,” wrote one user on Weibo, a Chinese social network, reported by the Wall Street Journal. “This besmirches the Chinese public—I strongly demand that CCTV remove this rubbish ad!”
DDB China stood by the video, issuing the following statement on its blog: “By using these images, CCTV would like to remind Chinese people, ‘Do not forget the whole world is watching us,’ so as to make people behave more civilized while traveling.”
A spokeswoman for DDB China says that the ad, which started airing on Sept. 29, had “completed its scheduled broadcast” and would no longer be appearing on Chinese airwaves-- though some accounts are saying the ad was pulled due to viewer complaints.
According to Mashable, the agency has since removed the ad from its website and now claims the minute long version with the urinating panda, which was a director’s cut, never aired on Chinese airwaves. The agency also reiterated that the spot never appeared on TV outside China, appearing only on CCTV stations.
Chinese travelers accounted for the second largest group of visitors to Australia last year, 685 tourists, according to news.com.au.