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Grow up, advertisers, where are your ethics?

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-08-07 08:24


"Daddy, I want to marry you when I grow up."

The catchline of an advertisement pasted on the floors of a subway car in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, triggered a raging debate on social networking sites on Wednesday after someone made a short video of it and posted it online.

Although the advertisement of English-teaching agency New Oriental had been around since early July, such was the furor that the subway management company withdrew it by the end of business hours on Wednesday.

In an interview with ThePaper.cn, New Oriental said it had wanted to convey children expressing their love for parents, and its marketing department did not expect it to get the flak it did. But it admitted that the text could lead to misunderstandings.

There are so many better ways to show one's love for parents. Just why would one come up with such a controversial advertisement?

Now that it has been withdrawn, it is hoped that the subway management and the company that made the advertisement are more careful about their products in the future. Words meant for public consumption must be chosen very carefully and should not be misleading.

Some micro bloggers who joined the debate online also pointed out that although the viral video was shot inside a female-priority subway car, there were more men seated on the seats inside, leaving girls and women standing. ThePaper.cn quoted a passenger as saying the "female-priority" was a misnomer.

Maybe the authorities need to look at both the ads and the gender rule breakers.

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