A Chinese children’s clothing maker that specialises in quick-dry underwear apologised on Monday for using imagery from an ultramarathon disaster that killed 21 people to promote its products.
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The picture was accompanied by several lines of text warning against the dangers of heat loss in an apparent attempt to sell its moisture eliminating clothes.
“Keeping dry is critically important,” read a line in yellow bold on top of the heart-wrenching picture.
The advertisement, which was displayed in a Hinos branch in Beijing, caused an uproar over the weekend after it was shared on Weibo and later confirmed by the brand.
On Monday, the company issued an apology and admitted the advertisement was inappropriate.
“We have removed the advertisement immediately and we extend our deep apologies for the anguish it caused,” the company wrote a Weibo statement, vowing to impose stricter content review standards in the future.
They have no limit, no moral integrity. It’s like eating steamed buns dipped in human blood.
An internet user criticising the advertisement
The Gansu tragedy was a devastating debacle in which 21 people were killed near Baiyin city, in northwestern China, on May 22 when the weather rapidly deteriorated along a 100km trail race.
Most of the runners were dressed in shorts and tops and lacked warm-weather gear, leading to one of the deadliest incidents in China’s sporting history.
Before being taken advantage of by Hinos, the tragedy prompted a national reflection about safety concerns during outdoor activities.
In the advertisement, Hinos discussed hypothermia – a medical emergency that presumably killed some of the runners – by writing, “some people remember to keep warm but forget about the risk of hypothermia caused by profuse sweating.”
It followed that up with: “Choose moisture-transferring and quick-drying underwear instead of those made of cotton. Cotton products increase the risk of hypothermia because they absorb sweat and are hard to get dry.”
Web users were shocked by how the children’s clothing brand leveraged the harrowing event for product promotion.
“This is too much … how could they use other people to advertise their products? Please remove it immediately and apologise. I will not patronise this brand any more,” one Weibo user wrote.
“They have no limit, no moral integrity. It’s like eating steamed buns dipped in human blood,” another said.
Hinos has 30 stores in nine cities across mainland China.
This article Chinese clothing brand apologises after using ultramarathon tragedy to advertise quick-dry underwear first appeared on South China Morning Post