A Beijing market supervision and administration authority is investigating a company that allegedly produced advertisements that were disrespectful to women to market collagen peptide drinks, Chinese media reported.
Since late April, people have been posting video advertisements for Five Doctors collagen peptide drinks on social media, saying that they find them vulgar.
In the advertisements, which are mainly played on screens in elevators, women explain in a hysterical manner why they take the drinks. One says she takes it because her husband has upset her, while another says she needs it because she is getting older. The women all end up saying that they are left with no choice but to take Five Doctors.
The content of the advertisements has been widely discussed on social media. Many people say the ads play on women's anxiety about their lives, looks and age.
"I often see the advertisements in the elevators of my apartment building. They got my attention for being annoying. It is pathetic to see a product targeting female customers using advertisements that are so disrespectful to women," Huang Yuan wrote on Sina Weibo.
An employee at the Market Supervision and Administration Bureau of Chaoyang District in Beijing told Jiupai News, which is based in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Friday that it has received complaints about the Beijing Young Doctor Health Management Company — the parent company of Five Doctors — for vulgar advertising and spreading false claims about the effects of the product. The bureau has decided to investigate and has begun collecting evidence. The probe is expected to be completed within 90 days.
Zhu Wei, deputy director of the Communication Law Research Center at the China University of Political Science and Law, said that according to the Advertisement Law, content that is vulgar or discriminates along gender lines should not feature in any advertisements.
Five Doctors, which specializes in collagen peptide drinks, was founded in 2019 by five women with doctoral degrees in fields including nutrition, biology and dermatology from Peking University, according to the brand's website, which also claims that its products create visible change.
On May 6, China Women's News commented on Sina Weibo that women find the advertisements insulting because they know they are trying to make them anxious about their looks and age, which happens enough already and which they wish to end. This kind of marketing campaign may attract attention, but it doesn't work because it's disrespectful to women.
CWN also warned people that the claimed effects of collagen peptide drinks are still not clear and questioned by many experts.