On May 6, Vin Zhang Binbin (张彬彬) was announced as the new ambassador of Samsung’s Galaxy A52 5G cell phone. Many Chinese netizens immediately fired at the actor for endorsing Samsung, which was accused of insulting China in an earlier controversy.
In 2016, Samsung issued a global recall of its Galaxy Note 7 after faulty batteries exploded. The South Korean manufacturer initially refused to recall phones in China, insisting that the batteries were unaffected due to different supply resources despite some reported incidents. Outcries from Chinese consumers and the government followed, blaming Samsung for “discriminating” against China. The controversy was a nightmare for Samsung and damaged its brand reputation.
Disapproval Towards Zhang Binbin
Although five years have since passed, many Chinese people did not forget the Samsung controversy. Zhang Binbin’s current endorsement of the brand’s latest cell phone was immediately ridiculed, and many netizens started group mocking and attacking the Rattan <司藤> actor online.
Prior to the official endorsement announcement, Samsung released preview videos of the phone, and many already recognized Zhang Binbin’s voice in the ad. Guessing that the actor could potentially be the new ambassador, netizens poured their disapproval. Subsequently, Zhang Binbin did not appear at any of the phone’s promotional events which led many to think that he turned down the job.
It turns out the Samsung endorsement deal was never cancelled, but only postponed. The previously filmed commercials were temporarily halted to calm the masses, but are slowly being released now.
Samsung and Zhang Binbin’s team did not think that there would be such a huge social media backlash over the collaboration, as Lay Zhang (张艺兴) had also worked with the brand before. With growing tensions between China and South Korea, many Chinese are even more against celebrity collaborations with Samsung now.
Many believe this endorsement can only benefit Zhang Binbin financially in the short run, but will definitely hurt his long-term career. They urge him to focus on his acting, and watch his actions given that he is a public figure.
This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.