Citroen learns genocidal dictators aren’t good advertising

The French car company issued an apology to China because of an ad that ran in Spain featuring Chairman Mao making a face at a hatch-back.

MeowUnder the Biblical quotation “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s,” the text talked up Citroen’s position as a car sales leader in a bombastic tone. “It’s true, we are leaders, but at Citroen the revolution never stops,” the advertisement said.

The ad drew the ire of people at several Chinese web sites.

Oddly they didn’t object to using Mao’s image because it glorified the person directly responsible for murdering and starving tens of millions of their countrymen — (which is what Citroen should really be apologizing for). No, the quotes ran more to … “Chairman Mao is the symbol of China, and what Citroen did lacks basic respect to China.” Apparently they are just as bad at teaching history in China as they are here in the US.

In case the situation wasn’t ripe with enough irony, the image used in the ad closely resembled the ginormous Mao poster that waves in Tiananmen Square.

Jack Yan has a copy of the original ad at his blog here.

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8 thoughts on “Citroen learns genocidal dictators aren’t good advertising

  1. I am glad someone is reporting on this accurately. I say Mao is fair game for humour and some Beijing sissies need to get over it. ‘Lacks basic respect to China’? Well, killing way more Chinese people than the Japanese did during WWII is pretty disrespectful in my book. Oh, I am Chinese, I have tested the Citroën C4, and I heartily endorse it.

  2. The west hypocrisy accuse Chairman Mao of killing million of people directly based on novels. Yet, they fail to see millions of people dying around the world caused by Bush and his allies. At least Mao saved us from corrupted KMT that care more about power than fighting the foreign invaders.

  3. if you think that I ignore the actions of Georgie you really haven’t read the blog. The historical record is clear about the chairman and not based on fiction. Last century’s most lethal dictators — in order of millions of people killed — 1) Mao, 2) Stalin, 3) Hitler. Yeah the KMT sucked. No questions about that. The KMT would have just been another lapdog to Western business, but just because they were corrupt murderers doesn’t make Mao any less corrupt of a murderer.

  4. So, Andy, I take it that none of your family went through famines and the Cultural Revolution or knew of people being executed by the Communists? And the KMT—I’d have them govern any day over Mao.

    So, Andy, rather than turn Collateral Damage’s blog into a place for Beijing BS, what is your view on the campaign? How about answering the topic rather than going off-topic and looking for an opportunity to slag off the KMT (last I looked, they got rid of the Japanese in ’45 with plenty of Allied help)?

    So, does this campaign offend Chinese people? I say an emphatic no, aside from a few sympathizers who had to type things based on Party ideology. You forget that the first complaints about this advertisement came from public messageboards inside Red China. Chinese who weren’t offended stayed silent for the most part, because we didn’t see anything to complain about.

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