Pocari Sweat HK angers mainlanders
Leung Chun-ying, former chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, has called on the public to boycott sports drink Pocari Sweat and accused it of failing to “differentiate between right and wrong” in the recent violent protests against a proposed extradition law.
Leung made the plea on his facebook page on July 10 after Pocari Sweat HK Ltd decided to pull advertising from Hong Kong broadcaster TVB for its alleged biased coverage of the protests.
According to a Messenger post dated July 9 from a sender named Pocari Sweat HK Ltd, the Hong Kong company said it would “withdraw the advertisements placement from TVB broadcast stations... and will request to withdraw all advertisements on other TVB platforms.” It also urged TVB to “respond to public concern.”
TVB reported violent acts of some protesters and police’s decision to hold them criminally liable.
“Due to the recent economic situation and political incidents, a small number of advertisers have to defer their campaigns or reschedule their booking,” a TVB spokesman said in an email to Bloomberg. “This has no significant effect on our business,” he wrote, adding that the broadcaster has “always maintained neutrality, professionalism and objectivity in its news coverage.”
The incident has drawn widespread anger on China’s social media with Pocari Sweat’s mainland company scrambling to distance itself from the Hong Kong one.
Pocari Sweat Tianjin and Guangdong released a joint statement on their official Weibo account on July 11, saying they are “different entities from Pocari Sweat HK” and firmly support the “'One Country, Two Systems' and Hong Kong's Basic Law.”
Although Pocari Sweat Hong Kong issued an apology on Facebook on July 10, saying that “our reply dated July 9 have led to inconvenience,” it failed to ease the ire of Chinese netizens.
Many said the apology lacked sincerity and a netizen called zhige268 said he won’t buy the drink any more.
Chinese idol girl group GNZ48 will terminate their contracts with Pocari Sweat and pull related videos, its agency said on Weibo on July 10.