The mistress ad which ran in the Southern Metropolis Daily. (Photo/CNS)
A mistress ad that appeared on a daily newspaper in south China's Guangdong province Tuesday has caused a public furor as many say it is vulgar and disturbing.
In the ad which featured in the Southern Metropolis Daily of about 40 Chinese characters, the mistress-turned-wife of a man who convinced her lover to divorce his first wife urged the man's now-ex to give up on winning him back, saying "a good man only belongs to a woman who can make herself beautiful" and declared her wish that "there won't be any mistresses in the world."
On Tuesday morning, a picture of the ad went viral on microblogging sites and messaging services, drawing criticism from many internet users.
The ad also triggered an investigation by the Guangdong provincial administration of industry and commerce. The agency later said the ad was commercial speculation by a cosmetics brand and claimed it violated advertising laws by going against approved social conventions.
The newspaper canceled the brand's advertising campaign, originally scheduled to be printed in the following days covering topics ranging from typhoons to international relations to conjugal relations.
Once the ad went viral online, both the ad and the newspaper were both widely criticized by the public and experts alike.
"They shouldn't use such a trick to attract public attention. My buddies and I are all stunned," wrote a user on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblog. "Where is the bottom line for the media?"
"Such originality won't get compliments. It is just a kind of speculation aimed at getting people's attention," wrote another user.
"Even it is commercial advertising, the media shouldn't publish it. Although the media gained attention and advertising revenue, its image and credibility could also be damaged," they continued, saying "I don't think there will be any lady going to buy the merchandise after seeing the ad."
"I haven't bought the company's products behind the advertising and I will never buy their products in the future," wrote one. "It is too much. Even it is an ad, it should have a moral bottom line."
"Few people would know this was a cosmetics ad," said Zhang Fuzhong of the Guangdong Xingchen Law Office. "This violated the advertising law and also went against healthy social conduct, especially exerting an impact on the moral standards of minors."
It even drew criticism from public relations staff.
"The ad quickly got people's attention, but marketing with no consideration of consequences and no regard to morality could damage the brand," said a worker at the public relations firm Ruder Finn who declined to be named.
"Many newspapers are in hard times due to declining subscriptions and advertising revenue. So it can not be ruled out that the daily paper relaxed its review over ads because of operational pressure," said Li Xing, a professor of journalism at Guangzhou's South China University of Technology.