Has Chinese TV maker scored own goal with Fifa World Cup ad?

Viewers tackle Hisense marketing promoting company as China’s No 1 TV brand

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 10:49am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 11:10pm

A major Chinese sponsor of the Fifa World Cup has been accused of committing a foul against Chinese advertising law with its field sideline marketing.

Hisense, the world’s third-biggest television maker, came under fire from viewers in China for a pitchside banner advert promoting the company as “China’s No 1 TV brand” during the Germany v Mexico match on Sunday.

Online commenters suggested the eight-character Chinese slogan violated China’s advertising law banning companies from using superlatives such as “highest” or “best” in their promotions.

Breaches of law can result in fines of up to 1 million yuan (US$153,900).

Hisense did not respond to a request for comment.

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Hisense, which claims to have been number one in China’s TV market for the past 13 years, has faced similar criticism before.

The company used the same slogan when it became the first Chinese sponsor of the Uefa European Championship soccer tournament in 2016.

The tournament was hosted by France that year and at the time, Hisense said in a statement that French law allowed the use of “first” in advertising if it was backed up by evidence.

It added that the company’s ads had been approved by Uefa and the french authorities.

But Liu Junhai, director of Renmin University’s institute of commercial law, said Chinese advertising law was very clear about restricting language that described a company as “top-level”, Chinese state broadcaster Voice of China reported.

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According to a Fifa statement, sports marketing is part of Hisense’s international strategy to improve its brand awareness.

The company has also enlisted big names such as British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and retired Portuguese footballer Luís Figo to help market the brand.

“We believe that the [Fifa World Cup] competition will vastly improve global awareness and economic value for Hisense as a truly international brand,” Hisense Group president Liu Hongxin was quoted as saying in the Fifa statement.