Shreyas Kulkarni
Advertising

Xiaomi Japan issues apology after insensitive ad featuring nuclear blast imagery

The imagery, along with a reference to 'Fat Man', was part of the ad to promote the Redmi Note 9 series.

Xiaomi Japan has issued an apology over its latest advertisement promoting the Redmi Note 9 series. The ad in question contained nuclear blast imagery and a 'Fat Man' reference.

'Fat Man' was the codename of the nuclear bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States on August 9, 1945. According to Charles Levy, of the of the 509th Composite Group, "After explosion, a balloon-like ring of white smoke formed, followed by a light-red ball of fire, which covered two-thirds of the target area."

The two-minute ad shows different scenarios extolling the different features of the smartphone. Around the 40-second mark, a message '30W Fast Charge' is shown. There's a man who inflates into a white balloon-like figure and flies up in the sky overlooking a Japanese city, and then an amination depicts the nuclear blast.

The tone-deaf allusion to the blast got the smartphone giant to not only apologise, but also remove the ad. However, there are several copies of the ad online, and we've uploaded one of them.

While the apology is in Japanese, according to cntechpost.com, it says, "This latest product promotion for the overseas market contained ill-considered content and the video has been removed. Xiaomi respects users and cultures around the world, and we will be closer to our users when producing new products that promote them. We will do everything we can to prevent it from happening again in the future, and to resolve the problem."

This isn’t Xiaomi‘s first gaffe in recent times. The brand's vice president Chang Cheng courted controversy on April 24, 2020, with a sexist comment while promoting the new Mi 10 Youth Edition and the 50x zoom feature of its camera.

According to KrASIA, the leading tech and business news portal, Cheng said on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, "Cheering on the basketball court, others watched you scored, but I saw your crotch cracked. There is a (…) nest behind every beautifully dressed girl in their female dormitory.”

The post has now been deleted, and Cheng apologised two days later. “My inappropriate post caused bad influences, made netizens feel uncomfortable and brought trouble to our users, who care and like Xiaomi. I’m wrong. I accept all the criticism,” he wrote on Weibo.

While the Redmi Note 9 series is already available in India, the Note 9 Pro was launched on March 17, with a price range starting from Rs 13,000.