Chinese model clumsily eating Italian Pizza with Chopsticks — D&G 2018 China Ad

Why Dolce & Gabbana’s “Racist” Blunder Matters for Luxury Brands in China

Ivonne Teoh
6 min readNov 26, 2018


A lesson of when “creative” marketing ads overstep their mark. Combined with another big problem (see the end), this is a really big blunder for D&G.

D&G is estimated to lose USD500 million from this fallout.

The fallout from Dolce & Gabbana’s video ads promoting its fashion show in China over the weekend has been swift, harsh and powerful. Watch the ad below and tell me what you think. Was it culturally insensitive? The model, wearing a D&G dress, is clumsily eating Italian pizza with chopsticks. Another ad showed the model eating spaghetti with chopsticks. Is this the kind of message they expected people in China to like? It doesn’t make any sense!

D&G news in a Chinese newspaper

Chinese consumers spend over $100 billion a year on luxury goods. China represents one third of the world’s luxury market. Chinese consumers are discerning, especially luxury goods consumers. Their buying decisions are often influenced by feedback from their friends & other people.

That’s why this scandal will turn many people off the D&G brand. For many, it’s likely to be forever because this was the 2nd blunder by them in China.

Will D&G be able to recover and rebuild their reputation in China? Some people will not forget this. As a big branding fail, it’s pretty bad. Other high profile western brands have made mistakes in China this year. Why didn’t D&G learn from them?

“Why give them our money when there are other luxury brands who welcome our business and respect our culture & history?”

Celebrities have boycotted their Fashion Show in Shanghai and it was forced to cancel. Actually China’s government issued them with a notice cancelling the event. D&G’s products have been removed from e-commerce platforms and stores in China and Hong Kong. D&G had over $1 billion worth…



Ivonne Teoh

Blockchain, Social Media, Mental Health Educator & Writer. Please check my series on LinkedIn about #AI #robotics #futureofwork #futureproof jobs.