3:36 am - 03/30/2019

German ad slammed for racist portrayal of Asian women, goes viral in Korea

Hornbach, a German home improvement store, has been called on to apologize over a commercial that social media users decried as promoting stereotypes against Asian women.

The controversial commercial depicts several white men doing garden work. They are then encouraged to remove their sweaty, dirty clothing — including underwear — and place it in a box. The 46-second advertisement then cuts to a gray city where an Asian woman purchases one of the bags of dirty clothes, opens it up and inhales deeply. The woman then rolls her eyes back and appears to become aroused while a soundtrack of a woman moaning plays in the background. The commercial ends with a slogan reading: "That's how spring smells."

Social media users slammed the advertisement on Twitter, with one user writing that the ad is "Racist. Sexist. Disgusting." "The Asian woman is represented as a mere tool to make the white male customers feel better about themselves," wrote Twitter user Sung Un Gang.

By Thursday afternoon, an online petition asking the German company to publicly apologize and remove the ad had garnered over 1,500 signatures. (OP note: It has now (Friday night) over 8,400 signatures) The advertisement also sparked the hashtag #Ich_wurde_gehornbacht, or "I was Hornbach-ed," with Asian women sharing stories of discrimination and objectification that they experienced in Germany.

Hornbach defended the commercial, replying to users that "our ad is not racist. View the ad as a discourse on the increasing urbanization and decreasing quality of life in cities," the company wrote on Twitter.

They also posted GIFs of a white woman and white man opening the bags and having euphoric reactions to smelling the dirty clothes. The short clips were ostensibly also part of the advertising campaign. Social media users pointed out, however, that the clips of the white man and white woman aren't in the original ad that the company posted. And they have yet to appear in other commercials.

sources: dw.com, HORNBACH

Twitter user @omniaamo, a Korean living in Germany, has started a petition (linked above) and is keeping the international community updated on this case. Meanwhile Hornbach's PR department has offered to meet up and have an open dialogue with all interested parties to "listen, learn and understand the feelings and anger that arose through this advertisement".
kyulkyung 30th-Mar-2019 04:22 pm (UTC)
the fact that they refuse to take the ad down and apologize is so typical lmao. people in this country are proud of not being ~politically correct~ and always excuse their bigotry with "it's just a joke/satire" and it's only getting worse, i'm so sick of it.
goshipgurl 30th-Mar-2019 09:28 pm (UTC)
Seriously, just seconds ago i saw it on TV. If they really were so sorry about it they would instantly stop airing it
camouflagecat 30th-Mar-2019 04:24 pm (UTC)

And I don't understand the point of this commercial at all, like what is it even supposed to advertise? It just made me uncomfortable watching it

Edited at 2019-03-30 04:26 pm (UTC)
krissasaur 30th-Mar-2019 08:19 pm (UTC)
Exactly... Racism aside, I just want to vomit.... not spend money.
benihime99 30th-Mar-2019 04:30 pm (UTC)
WTF? What?

Is this to advertize fertilizer?
donaldjdrumpf 30th-Mar-2019 04:53 pm (UTC)
I'm offended that the white men aren't even hot lol. Like ya I'd pay to smell Antoni from Queer Eye's sweaty clothes but not some gross old grandpa's eww.

I wish I could smell Wonho's workout clothes.
soulhades 30th-Mar-2019 05:43 pm (UTC)
Those hornbach ads always play on how you need to sweat your ass off to achieve some decoration or renovation project you can do by buying stuff at their shop. So I guess what they were trying to say is that those men shirts and dirty clothes smells very good because they smells like efforts and achieving your goal ? It's a bit cringey.

jaelissi 30th-Mar-2019 06:56 pm (UTC)
They just look so effing dirty. Who would want to smell that? Blech! Just a light sweat, okay, but they look like they've been working on an oil rig no shower for weeks.
froggster 30th-Mar-2019 08:38 pm (UTC)
While I went ????!!! wtf is this racist shit??? when I first saw the ad on tv it wasn't for the same reason this article raises.
I thought it was a riff on 'those crazy japanese with their crazy vending machines and weird obsessions'
I had to explain to my family what I was seeing differently from them, because they saw the ad exactly as hornbach described in their explanation

Hornbach ads are always weird. The previous one with the entire machinations going on inside the guy's body was wild.
chikage_chan 30th-Mar-2019 11:01 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I ask myself how shit like this gets approved and made in the first place... Then I remember all the toxic men in positions of power in these companies and it all makes sense.
goshipgurl 30th-Mar-2019 11:49 pm (UTC)
KBS News did a report about it during their 9pm news
rainstormraider 31st-Mar-2019 01:20 am (UTC)
What even?
Who gets paid to come up with something so stupid?
modestgoddess79 31st-Mar-2019 03:12 am (UTC)
Only a white supremacist would think this is a logical and inoffensive ad. I’m sure the ad was planned by a bunch of old white men who think the world revolves around them.
bea_chan22 31st-Mar-2019 04:36 am (UTC)
Are these fools implying that Asians are unhygienic and we're used to the smell because most of us work in factories? It's annoying to think Asians are like that when a lot of them don't bother to even shower daily when they are in a humid country like mine.
daynr 31st-Mar-2019 06:19 am (UTC)
this is a delusional ad written by men, clearly.

The only time I want to smell male clothing or men, is fresh from the laundry/shower. And I play in the male pond.
kori_ya 31st-Mar-2019 09:33 am (UTC)
Actually I don't even understanding the ad's meaning.
goshipgurl 31st-Mar-2019 02:58 pm (UTC)
Apparently there are vending machines in Japan that sell bags with used underwear. For people that have this kind of fetish... So they took the clothes of sweaty old white men that were prepping their backyards for spring season, packed them in bags and shipped them off to Japan so the lady, who's living in a city with no fresh air, could buy one of these bags and get a taste of what spring smells like.
blck_ink 31st-Mar-2019 04:24 pm (UTC)
white men being racist, what's new.
putalawea 31st-Mar-2019 09:37 pm (UTC)
It just made me remember this old video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4KsV4rVINE
Full hd, I know
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