Photo from China Daily
It’s been about a month since herbal shampoo Bawang was accused of having carcinogens mixed in with its hair products. And since then, its spokesperson Jackie Chan hasn’t had a word to say on the matter. He finally broke the silence yesteray in Shanghai.
Bawang International, China’s largest herbal shampoo maker, was put under the spotlight in mid-July when Next Magazine reported that samples of its anti hair-loss formula had 10 parts per million of 1,4-dioxane, a substance that may cause cancer. The report, which Bawang called “inaccurate and unfounded,” caused the company’s shares to take a nosedive.
In the weeks since, it has yet to recover from the stock dip… and has made a couple of PR gaffes in the meantime. A press conference in which Bawang said it would withdraw products and compensate customers if a government review found its products faulty was peppered with questions about them allegedly trying to shut up journalists by force in Shanghai. Eventually, Bawang Executive Director Wan Yuhua apologized for the incident, saying the thugs that visited Shanghai’s National Business Daily were employees acting on their own.
But what does this all have to do with Jackie?
Poor Jackie Chan, being the main celebrity spokesperson for Bawang, has gotten flack for not… I guess, making sure it may cause cancer before using it himself. His endorsement gave rise to the term 成龙魔咒 (cheng long mo zhou), “A superstition that all products endorsed by Jackie Chan are doomed to fail like Bawang shampoo.”
Yeah, it doesn’t make too much sense as an accusation considering Jackie Chan endorses just about everything – including successful brands like Canon and Mitsubishi, even with the recent law making celebrities somewhat responsible for their ads (as an aside, I believe it’s pure luck that Jay Chou hasn’t had a product come up cancer-causing yet). But he’s a public face that, if you’ve ever seen a Bawang shampoo bottle, is sometimes bigger than the Bawang logo itself.
Jackie, to his credit, has actually managed to keep his mouth shut on the issue up until now, saving everyone from the embarassment/entertainment of his slip ups. Even yesterday’s statement was pretty reserved. Kind of.
He reiterated that government bodies had found nothing wrong with the shampoo, made a comment about how some malicious people may be trying to harm his and Bawang’s image and then added:
“I have always been very careful with what products I endorse. But there are some media who are specifically gunning for me and a few other artistes, I am not sure why, as though it is better that we all just died.”
No way, Jackie! We love you!