Adidas Gets a Hard Lesson in Appropriate Uses Of China Flag

Monday, March 10, 2008 14:05
Posted in category Going to Market

Forbes came across the wire with a very interested article entitled Adidas Gets Red Flag, Not Gold Star, From Chinese Consumers on the recent mess Adidas found itself in over their use of the national flag.

Apparently starting with a new line of gear to show its support for China (an Olympic play), some reporters looked at the new gear in a different light… breaking the law.

According to the article:

Adidas’s Shanghai office on Sunday issued a global recall of a line of sports bags and polo shirts printed with a clever design melding Adidas’s corporate logo with China’s national flag.

Rather than get clever with national icons, treasures, and likenesses, I suggest brands just stick to good old fashioned banner ads.  They are a lot cheaper to remove once their negative impact is recognized.

After all.. Impossible may be nothing… but Nationalism is a Big Deal.

Now that was cleaver!

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4 Responses to “Adidas Gets a Hard Lesson in Appropriate Uses Of China Flag”

  1. John Guise says:

    March 10th, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Interesting marketing scheme and one I am really surprised they tried. The use of the flag is such a touchy subject here (as it is in a few countries). I wonder if they spoke to some local staff in the Shanghai or any China office to get their opinion before approving it.


  2. Rich says:

    March 10th, 2008 at 8:50 pm


    I would be shocked if they didn’t test it, but I bet they failed to poll the mainland market given the fact that it was being sold in HK.

    Perhaps this will catalyze HK based focus groups to look north before signing off on how the Chinese flag and other icons should be used?


  3. John Guise says:

    March 11th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Rich

    I hope so. Views on Chinese nationalism as seen from HK and the mainland are completely different beasts.


  4. Rich says:

    March 11th, 2008 at 10:33 pm


    I had heard that too!

    have a good week