Luxury label Gucci and sportswear firm Adidas AG are grabbing headlines in China for selling an 11,100 yuan ($1,644) umbrella that doesn’t even stop rain.
Never mind that the brands say that’s not what it was designed to do.
A hashtag on “the collaboration umbrella being sold for 11,100 yuan is not waterproof” attracted more than 140 million views on social media site Weibo.
☔️Umbrellas are not waterproof！#adidasxGucci@adidasoriginals@gucci#VirtualWorld#REALITY#Blockchain#CryptocurrencyNews#Metaverse#NFTCommunity#NFTcollectibles#NFTartist#nftcollectorpic.twitter.com/xmudzHHxrW
— cubist????????????♂️????♂️????♀️???? (@cubist_pg) May 13, 2022
The post focuses on a disclaimer that the parasol doesn’t block rain, but instead should be used as shade from the sun and for fashion purposes. The product originally had been classified as an umbrella but was changed to a more ambiguous term in mandarin.
Representatives at Adidas and Gucci could not be immediately reached for comment.
Luxury brands face increased scrutiny in China amid a broader backlash on excess prompted by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” campaign, which sent related stocks plunging last year. More broadly, Western brands like Adidas have struggled in the face of growing nationalism that have prompted boycotts and preferential treatment for local companies.
One Weibo user, Laotan Dianshang, quoted Xi’s equality slogan, saying that such products were not intended for “the common folk.”
Still, with its growing middle class, China remains a market few international firms can afford to alienate.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)