Dolce and Gabbana: How NOT to Advertise on Social Media

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

What Happened

Screenshot from Dolce and Gabbana’s 2018 Chinese advertisement

Impact to Dolce and Gabbana’s Market Share

China represents one of the largest emerging markets for both middle class consumer goods and luxury items. Recent reports show China has delivered over half total growth in luxury spending between 2012 and 2018, and is predicted to account for 65 percent of the world’s additional spending by 2025. Hollywood for example has begun to cater major blockbusters to the Chinese market, adding Chinese actors and characters to more and more high budget items, and portraying China in flattering circumstances. As China reporter for Axios Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian writes:

Photo by Nuno Alberto on Unsplash

Proposed Solutions and Recommendations

As shown above, China and other Asian markets are quickly becoming major purchasers across demographics and sectors. While that growth means alienating the whole market will result in major profit losses, it also means that the market might be large enough to offer room for multiple products and even move past the blunder as new purchasers enter the market.

1) Actually apologize for behaviour and recognize the harm it has done to marginalized communities.

2) Recognize that the behaviour may be systematic and comes from a place of privilege. The behaviour is problematic on it’s own, and also because it represents a broader social issue.

3) A commitment to do better, which can be done through active work on company culture terminating relationships with problematic individuals, and making financial/cultural/ongoing contributions to the issues and communities at hand.

Photo by Jiawei Zhao on Unsplash


Every day that Dolce and Gabbana isn’t actively increasing their market share in the highly coveted Chinese market, other luxury brands are taking their place, cementing themselves as irreplaceable cultural icons and signifiers of wealth. Missing out at this crucial juncture can have long term implications for their global market share. Asian markets are only growing, and Dolce and Gabbana can not afford to be completely excluded from the game.

Justin Draper is a writer, musician, animal lover, political watcher and pun enthusiast from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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