By Lee Hyo-sik
Amore Pacific, the country’s largest cosmetics firm, has issued an apology for airing a controversial advertisement that suggested women should get their boyfriends to buy luxury bags for them.
The company posted a written apology on the website of one of its cosmetics brands Mamonde (http://www.mamonde.co.kr), regretful that its online ad has caused public uproar.
``One of our online advertisements has generated negative feedback. We are deeply sorry about this,’’ the company said in the statement.
The dubious ad featured Yuri, a member of the popular girl group ``Girls’ Generation,’’ which implied the easiest way for women to obtain the high-priced bag for free is to make their boyfriends purchase it for them.
In the ad, Yuri first considers various ways to raise money to purchase a luxury handbag. She thinks about refraining from meeting friends to save money or sleeping a fewer hours less and getting a part-time job. But she instead chooses to get her boyfriend to buy her the premium bag.
The ad hints that to do so, women need to be pretty and should buy and use Mamonde products.
``Our intention was to create a humorous commercial. But we admit we went too far and the ad sent an inappropriate message,’’ Amore Pacific said.
The company has withdrawn the controversial ad and others similar in concept since the public resentment erupted.
Despite this strong criticism from Internet users plagues the cosmetics company with hundreds of critical messages posted on the firm's website and portal sites. Some messages read ``The ad makes no sense’’ and ``Men are not pushovers.’’
``Corporate advertisements should be created to inform consumers of accurate information about the available products,’’ said Yoon Cheol-han, director general at the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice. ``But if commercials send a negative message and distort social values, they tarnish the product image and brand value.’’
Yoon said not only Amore Pacific, but also other companies should pay extra attention to what messages their ads send to the public.
A brand manager for Mamonde at Amore Pacific was not available for comment.