By on March 8, 2013

Hyundai and Buick are feeling the heat in China, and the industry might rethink past practices of freewheeling Twitter snark. Hyundai and a Buick dealer made remarks about the quality of their products after a 2-month-old baby was abducted along with the RAV4 it was in. Chinese commenters did not like it at all.

On Tuesday, car and hijacker were found after one of China’s largest manhunts. The suspect confessed to strangling the child and dumping the body in the snow.

According to Bloomberg, “a posting on Hyundai’s Weibo account on March 6 made references to a missing child and vehicle as it promoted the safety features of the new imported Santa Fe SUV.,” causing a backlash from micro-bloggers on Weibo. Hyundai deleted the post and apologized.

A day before, Liaoning Tianhe Buick wrote: “A few thoughts following the Changchun stolen car and child incident: When buying a car it’s completely okay to choose brands with better technology. Tianhe Buicks carry the OnStar GPS system, which can track down the location of a stolen vehicle at any time and automatically report it to the police. Feel at ease, have peace of mind, if you’re going to buy a car, why not choose a completely safe Buick!!!.”

Dayna Hart, a Shanghai-based spokeswoman for GM, told Bloomberg GM is monitoring the situation and isn’t ready yet to comment.

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40 Comments on “Social Marketing Backlash In China Over Murdered Baby...”


  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Dumb. Just dumb. Does advertising ever stop? We are bombarded with this everywhere, cant even see the credits for a movie on tv because they are rolling a promo for the next show. Or putting a promo on the bottom half of the screen at an inopportune time blocking what you are watching. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to market even if a tragedy happens. Sheesh.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    As a lot of companies have been finding out lately, you have to be very careful who you let sit at the social media keyboard. Not sure what GM is supposed to do about an individual Buick dealership.

    Despite all the blogosphere outrage at the off-the-script Hyundai blogger and the individual Buick dealership, I wonder how many Chinese families with the money for a car are going to hear about this and think “Oh crap, I want to be able to track my car if my kid is kidnapped, I better make sure I have the OnStar GPS system.”

  • avatar
    dalava

    Advertising in general in China is a mess. Social media just made it even worse. If you have ever visited a Chinese website, you will know I am talking about.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. The crass unthinking and lack of empathy that your average Chinese seems to have on the street makes me see this as normal.

    Sure weibo may complain, but I dare you to find a single person IN PUBLIC who will tell the writer that what they did is wrong. They will get either silence or people will lie and tell them how what they did is fine and not a problem.

    In some ways I’m surprised it’s not worse.

    • 0 avatar
      copanacional

      “The crass unthinking and lack of empathy that your average Chinese”?? WTF

      To make an over generalized comment about an entire race of people is ignorant. Just ignorant. While culturally, the east is far different from the west; if you took time in getting to know the Chinese people, you’ll find that the majority are empathetic and kind.

      I assure you, I can just as easily make assumptions and issue judgement on my daily commute towards your “Average New Yorker” and spew vitriol similar to your asinine statement.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        New Yorkers are guilty of dehumanizing strangers in order to reconcile their ridiculous beliefs with everyday realities, but even they’re given to genuine human responses when faced with Chinese indifference.

        http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/watch_child_run_over_and_ignored_8fVgzdy3ipdh9NPDGEwlZL

        • 0 avatar
          copanacional

          Are you really going to bring up the New York Post? -Complete Filth-

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2012/12/04/new-york-posts-subway-death-photo-was-it-ethical/

          I’ve worked in Manhattan for 3 decades now. There’s a reason why I haven’t moved into the city. #1 Reason: The People

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I notice you’ve sidestepped the video, which is available from whatever silly media source feeds your dream.

            Washington Post? http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/yue-yue-chinese-toddler-run-over-in-hit-and-run-believed-to-be-stable/2011/10/18/gIQAb83kuL_blog.html

            CNN? http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/17/world/asia/china-toddler-hit-and-run/

            Telegraph? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8830790/Chinese-toddler-run-over-twice-after-being-left-on-street.html

            Nice try attempting to make this story about the New York Post. Maybe you’re hiding from the truth because ignorance isn’t what you’re trying to discourage.

          • 0 avatar
            Speed Spaniel

            To make an over generalized comment about an entire **city** of people is ignorant. Just ignorant.

            Personally I like the Darwinian nature of New Yorkers. It must be difficult for you to exist so low in the food chain.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …..New Yorkers are guilty of dehumanizing strangers in order to reconcile their ridiculous beliefs with everyday realities…..

            Another classic ignorant statement. I’ll make one, too: Put down your rifle, son, and explore beyond your backyard.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I lived in Manhattan for almost five years, if reality has a place in your views. Ignorance isn’t the term to describe something you disagree with because you know less about it.

          • 0 avatar
            Speed Spaniel

            Comments to copanacional:

            So you make six figures a year? Now would that be $9,452.33?. I think your boss is calling you, “clean up at “table 5″, Ming Ling the woman with the slanted eyes just gacked up her McNuggets. (I guess that makes me a bigot!!)

            Speaking of avatars, yes, mine is a dog, but why is yours a face with a mouth open under a toilet (rim??) seat?????

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            CJ your dislike for Manhattanites probably more to do with the fact that most of them don’t share much with your political viewpoints than anything to do with “dehumanizing” people. Maybe you should have tried Staten Island. I find most NY’s to be pretty friendly and helpful to those around them. Of course when there is such density of humanity, the bad apples tend to stick out, but to pigeonhole everybody is pretty narrow thinking…oh wait, never mind…

      • 0 avatar
        strafer

        Copa, I think you’re correct for individuals, but as a group not so much.
        Chinese netizens easily get whipped into frenzy, whether the issue is true or obvious rumor.
        And please don’t assume Chinese represent the East culturally. That was true over a century ago, but not today.

      • 0 avatar
        infinitime

        I agree. One video of ONE instance of callous indifference, sensationalized by the western media, does not make it a rule for Chinese society as a whole.

        The fact is that like EVERY society, the number of caring, compassionate people greatly out weight the few who lack empathy.

        I recall years ago, there was a news article about how some poor girl was raped in Central Park in NY in broad daylight, which others present either just watched and walked along minding their own business. Are you going to tell me that this type of behavior is TYPICAL of New Yorkers? I think not.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “Are you going to tell me that this type of behavior is TYPICAL of New Yorkers? I think not.”

          Yes. Look up Kitty Genovese. NY is well known for exactly this.

          • 0 avatar
            copanacional

            Thank you to all who share my view! It ‘grinds my gears’ when people make a sweeping generalization of an entire society.

            @Speed Spaniel

            Can’t you be original enough to NOT paraphrase something I wrote? Are you intelligent enough for that?

            Well, I’m very glad for you in this regard: “Personally I like the Darwinian nature of New Yorkers.” I couldn’t care less. It obviously bothered you enough to respond to my over generalized comment. It’s not so nice is it?

            But judging by your next comment:
            “It must be difficult for you to exist so low in the food chain.”

            Wow you must racist! I guess it’s my turn to LOL. I make a very comfortable six figure income, not including my wife’s compensation. I have a team of 10,composed of predominately *WHITE* people, whom report to me.

            But here’s the difference, I don’t see my subordinates in color. Whether they’re white, black, hispanic, or asian; I don’t make sweeping generalizations of their background. I treat them equally with respect and dignity; b/c if you can’t do that as a human being, you’re no better than an animal. Judging by your avatar, you’re a dog and the response you’ve taken to is a reflection of that.

            And THAT’S what puts YOU so solidly LOW on the food chain.

          • 0 avatar
            akitadog

            “Can’t you be original enough to NOT paraphrase something I wrote? Are you intelligent enough for that?”

            Copanacional, it’s apparent you can’t tell when you’re being mocked.

            “But judging by your next comment:
            “It must be difficult for you to exist so low in the food chain.”

            Wow you must racist! I guess it’s my turn to LOL. I make a very comfortable six figure income, not including my wife’s compensation. I have a team of 10,composed of predominately *WHITE* people, whom report to me.”

            THAT ONE just came out of left field with no provocation whatsoever. I still can’t figure out where you think you successfully tied racism into the discussion.

      • 0 avatar
        dalava

        daveinchine may be over generalizing, but what’s true is this: the crass unthinking and lack of empathy is widely prevalent in mainland China. The fusion of American-style (deregulated) capitalism and one-party rule (let’s not confuse Communism with whatever is going on in mainland China today) is cancerous.

  • avatar
    infinitime

    Well, with over 1.3 billion people, I would think that China would represent the MAJORITY of east Asians. THAT comment makes as much sense as saying that the US does not represent North America culturally.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      During the Cultural Revolution pretty much all traditional Chinese customs that went counter to the Communist ideal were banned.
      So 20th Century China was (and mostly still is) Communist culture.
      Japan was the East’s cultural leader then, and South Korea is becoming a cultural exporter (K-pop, K-drama, etc).
      If US ever happens to ban what was considered US culture for some political ideal, then yes US would no longer represent North American culture, which I hope never happens.

      • 0 avatar
        infinitime

        I really hope you are kidding about Japanese culture being typical of “Asian” culture in the 20th century. Given Japan’s track record for war atrocities and related war crimes, and its propensity to whitewash history, it is hardly a model for any Asian country.

        As to China and Communism, several decades of communism does not erode thousands of years of tradition. Just as the Russians quickly revert to traditional ways with the fall of Communism, China today is socially not much different from how it has been for hundreds of years, albeit under a thin veneer of modernity. Scratch the surface, and Confucianism still permeate every aspect of life.

        • 0 avatar
          copanacional

          @infinitime

          It’s sad how events such as the ‘Rape of Nanking’ aren’t taught more prevalently in western schools. Media & other influencing forces are too busy shoving the Holocaust down everyone’s throat.

          Japan, to this day, still deny most of the atrocities they committed in Asia & the Asia Pacific. It’s really quite pathetic. The amount of people they murdered and many of the experiments they performed completely dwarf those of the Holocaust.

          How did this become so off topic from the original intent of the author’s article?? Ahhh that’s right, racism. Just to be clear, I read TTAC during lunch for the sole purpose of automobiles.

          • 0 avatar
            jetcal1

            “Shoving the Holocaust…..”
            Hmm…..perhaps a better
            choice of semantics would serve
            you better.
            Have to agree about Nanking.
            My JSDF customers knew very
            little about the events in China.

          • 0 avatar
            kipchak

            “Media & other influencing forces are too busy shoving the Holocaust down everyone’s throat.”

            Do you honestly think the Rape of Nanking (which I learned about in High School) is even remotely comparable to the Holocaust in terms of it’s historical importance?

            “The amount of people they murdered and many of the experiments they performed completely dwarf those of the Holocaust.”

            Oh my, I thought people like you had died out.

            The Holocaust was the systematic state sponsorship of elimination of entire groups of “undesirables” and the affirmation that one ethnicity was superior to the others and had to kill any not similar, and they damn near got away with it. In sheer scale, there were more than six times more Jewish women killed during the Holocaust than all people during the Rape of Nanking.

            That ignores all the Jewish men, Gays, Jewish Children, Polish, Soviets, Homosexuals, political dissidents and political dissidents which are estimated to number near 11 million.

            Not only was it terrible in terms of how many people it killed, it was terrible in that it showed that an entire nation could be coerced into such a situation. That ordinary people, not just murderous soldiers and scientists could be so cruel.

            Your diminished of one of the most tragic events in human history is disgusting.

  • avatar
    infinitime

    @copanacional

    Yes, I agree with you entirely.

    I too read this site for automotive news, but it is hard not to react to comments which are blatantly bigoted, and filled with political malice.

    Like any other society, China is filled with good and bad, and in this case at least – bad marketing practices.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    A lot of the peoplwe above must not be familiar with the one child policy of the communist party. Their attitude towards something such as this tweet smacks of “me thinks thou dost protest too much”.
    China is the country which forcibly aborts late term babies when an extra child is discovered. It is the contry where girl babies are routinely murdered so the parents can concieve a boy .
    It is the country where a geniune gender imbalance is being created.
    It is the country where baby girls were left in the open to die and this was custom which went back hundreds of years.
    There are plenty more examples of where the Chinese have shown themselves to be barbaric in their treatment of the innocents . Their expression of anger at some car dealers tweet is a bit rediculous to even consider.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I’m confused. Joe Biden said he fully understands and doesn’t second guess China’s one child per family policy. Surely, it is all sweetness and light.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Ron, is abortion illegal in all of the US of A?

      There you go. People may have different reasons to abort. Some want a certain gender baby, some want to get rid of the by-product of ONS. But an abortion is an abortion. China may be out of your grasp, but at least you can call Obama and state that abortion should be made illegal.

    • 0 avatar
      infinitime

      Um, exaggerate much? China “…forcibly aborts late term babies”??? Have dealings with various NGOs working in China, I can tell you that forcible abortions are rare, and usually an exception in some backward village in the interior.

      According to the Red Cross, the criteria governing abortions are the same as those in Europe. BTW, Chinese hospital are PROHIBITED from disclosing the gender of fetuses, so selective abortions by gender are certainly not as common as the China-haters make them out to be.

      The issue of gender-imbalance is real, and reflects a sad throwback to historical preferences (i.e. rural families need males to work on the farm).

      To generalize would be akin to saying that those in southern US states are all racist and prejudiced against blacks. While this may be true in the minority of cases, it is certainly not the norm, nor is it prevalent among the vast majority of society. Blanket generalizations are bad… :)

      Having said that, my arguments may be falling on deaf ears, given Ron B.’s inability to spell “ridiculous”, even with the aid of the built-in spell checker on this site.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “inability to spell “ridiculous””

        That is a common misspelling on the internets. I’m not sure why. Do people think “rediculous” means “diculous again”?

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Dear TTAC. Please employ a moderator.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    It’s truly a shame how far TTAC has fallen. I’ve followed the site since it’s inception with it’s biting and insightful commentary on the automotive world and the people in it.

    Sadly it’s degenerating to the same crass BS that’s swamping virtually everything on the internet.

    A genuine loss for the enthusiast.

  • avatar
    atlas_snored

    +1 for Bill.

    TTAC probably attracts more viewers with controversial stories and their loosely moderated gongshow of racists, xenophobes, cold warriors and garden variety trolls. Still, it’s detrimental to the stated purpose of TTAC, to report on the car industry. Now it’s getting to the level of Youtube comments.

    Some of you guys really need to look up Kitty Genovese, the ultimate attribution error, the fundamental attribution error, etc.


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