Swedish furniture giant IKEA was met with severe backlash from Chinese netizens following its sexist commercial that aired in China.
After the negative response, the company was forced to pull the advertisement from airing and issue a public apology.
IKEA issued a statement on its official Weibo page on Tuesday. The company wrote:
“IKEA is aware of the case through feedback from Chinese customers. We understand the concern caused by this TV advertisement and sincerely apologize for giving the wrong perception.
This TV ad tried to show how IKEA can help customers easily and affordably convert a typical living room into a place for celebration. The purpose was to encourage customers to celebrate moments in everyday life.
IKEA encourages people to live many different lifestyles, and this belief is reflected in our product design and home furnishing solutions. Gender equality is a fundamental part of the IKEA culture and values, which we share with everybody.
We are thankful for the candid feedback and input from people who care about IKEA and who want to recognize the value of different lifestyles. This provides a good opportunity for IKEA to learn and do better in the future. We have already taken action and will continue to improve our communications moving forward.”
According to Shanghaiist, the original ad, which ran for 30 seconds, shows how a mother disowns her daughter because she can’t find a boyfriend.
However, things immediately change as soon as a man appears through the family’s door. The mother and father went as far as redecorating the house, right then and there, with IKEA products to emphasize their change of heart.
“Celebrate every day easily, give your home (or family) more possibilities,” the caption reads at the end of the commercial.
Some netizens couldn’t help but feel frustrated due to the ad’s negative impact on their lives.
“Every time my mom sees this ad, she complains to me about why I haven’t found a boyfriend. This ad ruins my relationship with my family,” a Weibo user wrote.
In China, most parents would pressure their daughter to marry before she reaches 27 so she can be saved from being called a “leftover woman” or someone who is still single by the time she reaches 30.
Featured image via YouTube / BTMG