On May 21, FAW-Volkswagen Audi published an advertisement endorsed by Chinese actor Andy Lau, and it became a hit online. But that very night, a blogger named Beida Mange with 3.7 million followers on Douyin – the Chinese mainland version of TikTok – claimed that the ad had taken its script “from an original poem” he had composed on May 21 of last year. Content with “Audi Xiaoman (Grain Buds) Advertising Plagiarism” and “Audi and Andy Lau” emerged as trending topics on Weibo.
On the morning of May 22, FAW-Volkswagen Audi issued a statement saying that the video was produced and shot by London-based ad agency M&C Saatchi. Following the principle of not avoiding problems, Audi said it asked the agency to deal with the infringement of copywriting as soon as possible, and to give the public a satisfactory answer. Before the facts are officially clarified, Audi removed this video from all official channels.
FAW-Volkswagen Audi also expressed sincere apologies for the trouble caused to Mr. Andy Lau, the blogger Beida Mange and related parties due to poor supervision and lax auditing. The company also stressed the importance it attached to originality and IPR protection.
On the afternoon of May 22, Andy Lau sent a message through his fan app Huazai Tiandi in response to the plagiarism of Audi’s “Xiaoman” ad. He said, “I 100% respect originality. Regarding this incident, I personally feel sorry for problems in the creation of ad team and the troubles caused to the blogger. Audi and advertising companies are now seriously dealing with it.”
In recent years, Audi has increasingly regarded China as its most important market in the world, and Chinese market is also Audi’s largest sales market.
The firm’s 2021 financial report shows that Audi Group delivered 1.689 million vehicles worldwide during the year, down 0.7% year-on-year. Specifically, Audi delivered 1,680,500 units, down 0.7% year-on-year, while Lamborghini delivered 8,405 vehicles, up 13.1% year-on-year, setting a record high. In the Chinese market, in 2021, Audi sold 727,000 vehicles, accounting for about 43% of global sales, and the Chinese market remained Audi’s largest single country market in the world.