Stinky Marketing: Chinese Feminine Hygiene Brand Fuyanjie Stirs Controversy with “Dark and Smelly” Ad
‘Insulting’ and ‘unscientific’: Chinese female hygiene brand Fuyanjie has come under fire on social media after suggesting that most men do not want to perform oral sex on women due to the vaginal area being “too dark and too smelly.” Their new product promised a ‘clean, odorless, and pink’ genital area.
The Chinese feminine hygiene brand Fuyanjie (妇炎洁) has caused controversy on Chinese social media this week because of its latest marketing campaign.
The brand recently came out with a new product promotion campaign via its online flagship store. The campaign promoted the pink-colored lotion by claiming that “surveys show that 83% of men from South Korea, Japan, and China are not willing to go down on their partner because it’s too dark and stinky.”
Of course, the brand promised a solution for this alleged widespread bedroom problem. The campaign suggested that Fuyanjie’s lotion will clean the genital area while also lightening darkened vaginal area skin and make it more “pink.”
Besides claiming to make the skin more pink-colored, the campaign also suggested that hyperpigmentation of the genital area can be caused by wearing tight pants and having too much sex.
The brand drew widespread criticism from netizens for being vulgar, insulting to women, and completely unscientific. By Saturday, the hashtag “Fuyanjie Ad Insults Women” (#妇炎洁广告被指侮辱女性#) had received over 130 million views on Weibo.
China Women’s News also condemned Fuyanjie on May 17th for its ad, saying that the brand ruined its own reputation by using women’s bodies for distasteful marketing practices.
Following the controversy, Fuyanjie published an apology on social media on May 20th, saying they offered their sincere apologies for their “inappropriate content” and that they will make sure something like this won’t happen again. They also stated that the product in question has now been taken off the shelves.
The “Fuyanjie Apologizes” hashtag (#妇炎洁道歉#) received over 80 million views on Weibo, but most netizens were not buying it, blaming the company for deceiving and discriminating women while also making money off of them.
Fuyanjie is a well-known female product brand in China that has been around since 1998. It is part of the Renhe Pharmaceuticals Group, a pharmaceutical company that specializes in the manufacture and marketing of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and other healthcare products. Besides female intimate hygiene products, Fuyanjie also sells sanitary napkins and other related products.
“I can’t wash away your past, but I can clean up your future“
Fuyanjie became a household name in the 1990s and early 2000s, mainly due to its marketing strategy which involved a catchy song by a couple singing a love song (‘Lover’ 知心爱人 by Ren Jing and Fu Disheng) and the slogan: “Washing is Healthier” (“洗洗更健康”).
The brand name, Fuyanjie (妇炎洁)， literally means ‘cleansing women’s vaginitis,’ with the company claiming that their products kill germs, make you feel fresh and clean, and that using their intimate care products somehow makes you “more healthy” (Li 2016).
In its commercials and ads, Fuyanjie also makes a connection between their products and romantic relationships, showing happy couples buying Fuyanjie products together. In between the lines, the company suggests that using Fuyanjie feminine hygiene products will magically boost your love life.
Nevertheless, it has been pointed out many times before that these kinds of female hygiene products are unnecessary and misleading. Rather than maintaining genital health, some of these intimate washing products actually might disrupt the intimate balance of the vagina and give rise to infections.
One popular Weibo comment said: “Unless your doctor says otherwise, the best way to wash your private parts is with water. And regarding the pigment – it’s normal to have darker skin there.”
It is not the first time Fuyanjie gets caught in controversy. As reported by Jiemian News, the brand also sparked criticism from netizens in 2016 when it used the marketing slogan “I can’t wash away your past, but I can clean up your future” (“我不能洗掉你的过去，但我能洗干净你的未来”) for one of their intimate care products.
“They don’t respect women at all,” one Weibo commenter said. “They should make their own penises pink instead,” another person suggested.
Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:
Li, Hongmei. 2016. Advertising and Consumer Culture in China. Cambridge: Polity.
Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.
©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at email@example.com.
The post Stinky Marketing: Chinese Feminine Hygiene Brand Fuyanjie Stirs Controversy with “Dark and Smelly” Ad appeared first on What's on Weibo.