Marketing is an important part of any business. Without proper marketing promotion, it is hard to sell a product in this competitive market. All kinds of businesses run some kinds of ad campaigns to promote their products and to show why buyers must choose their product over the competition. Ads also help teach buyers about some certain features. The sole purpose of ads is to show the brand and product in a good light in front of the potential buyers. Sometimes, however, ad campaigns can turn into a nightmare for the brand for many different reasons. A similar thing happened with Xiaomi Japan.
A recent promotional video for newly launched Redmi Note 9 caused so much trouble for the brand that they had to take down the video and release an apology letter. The controversy started when Xiaomi released an advertisement video for the Redmi Note 9 with a clear reference to the nuclear bomb dropping on Japanese city Nagasaki by American troops in 1945. The video caused so much rage and anger among the Japanese against the brand. Many people took to social media to show how hurt they are by the unfortunate action of a well-known brand. The situation got so bad that Xiaomi’s Japan division took down the video and issued an apology.
The video started off like most other smartphone promotional videos: a rundown of different features. One of the most important features of Redmi Note 9 is its 30W fast charging, and this is where the Xiaomi messed up. To emphasize the fast charging aspect, Xiamoi used the reference to something that they shouldn’t have.
The video is no longer available on any official Xiaomi Japan social media. But this is the internet; nothing is hidden here. Many internet users re-uploaded the controversial part on YouTube. If you are curious, you can watch the deleted ad in the YouTube video embedded below.
As you can see from the video, the part where the video tried to show the huge battery and fast charging is what created all the controversies. In that specific part, you can see a man is eating a battery shaped chocolate and turns into an inflating balloon. Then he flew off to the sky and over a city he explodes. The explosion looked very similar to the mushroom cloud that nuclear bombs create. This was a clear reference to the nuclear bombing on the Japanese city Nagasaki by the USA. This was not just the only reference to the bombing. The man who flew off to the sky before exploding had become fat and that was also a reference to the bombing. If you didn’t know, the bomb dropped by the USA on the city Nagasaki was codenamed the “fat man.”
The company has since issued an apology on Twitter and committed to never make such mistakes in the future.
The apology letter is in Japanese and I don’t speak Japanese. I used Google translate to get a rough translation. Here is what the translated version of the letter says:
“We sincerely apologize for the lack of consideration in our latest product promotion video for overseas markets. This video has already been deleted. Xiaomi respects users and cultures around the world. In the future, we will work even more closely to create customers’ promotional materials and work to prevent recurrence.”
I don’t understand why a big brand like Xiaomi would do such a rookie mistake. The bombing of Japanese cities in 1945 is a sensitive topic for Japanese people. It is unfortunate that Xiaomi thought it was okay to use it as a reference in a promotional video.