A new commercial for Amazon Prime has triggered a new boycott movement as it features some controversial celebrities as reported by Campaign Asia.
The Japanese hashtag #Amazonプライム解約運動, which translates to "AmazonPrimeCancellationMovement" topped the trending list on Twitter in Japan on August 17 after the hashtag began to trend since the day before.
According to Japanese daily The Mainichi, many users canceled their Amazon Prime subscription because the 15-second ad commercial includes the appearance of celebrities like comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto and political scientist Ruri "Lully" Miura.
Amazon Prime is a monthly paid subscription that provides streaming services across multiple devices as well as free delivery for some items.
In the video advertisement, personalities including comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto and political scientist Ruri "Lully" Miura are watching movies and videos on TV and tablets while their voices are narrating on the background.
Japanese consumers did not like the TV commercial of Amazon that features the two controversial celebrities. More and more people have tweeted that they already canceled their contract for the paid streaming service with the hashtag promoting the boycott.
Miura rose to popularity after arguing about the use of a conscription system. In 2018, she appeared in a TV program and made controversial remarks, including her comment about the city of Osaka being risky. She also commented that there were terrorist elements from North Korea, as critics said her remarks would "fuel discrimination" towards Koreans living in Japan. Miura countered the criticisms in her blog, saying there was nothing new about her comments as they were a known fact shared among experts.
Meanwhile, in 2019, Matsumoto also appeared on the same TV program and went under fire after describing the suspect in the Tokyo stabbing incident as a "defective product."
Amazon Prime: What the consumers say about the ads
The recent TV advertisement published by Amazon Prime has been trending on social media, but not for good reasons. It triggered a movement to boycott the company or cancel the services.
"To use a person who said something wrong or things that hurt others is tantamount to the company giving its consent to those statements," a Twitter user said on a tweet slamming Matsumoto and Miura's presence in the commercial.
「アマゾンプライムのCMに出て高額ギャラをもらえば、同社のブラック労働や独占禁止法違反疑惑などについて、厳しいコメントができなくなるのは自明だ。https://t.co/NrOuNovhoY @litera_web — 清水 潔 (@NOSUKE0607) August 18, 2020
Another Twitter user explained that featuring certain personalities in TV ads reflects the messages that companies want to convey and their corporate stance. "It is only natural for consumers opposing the use of those celebrities (in the Amazon Prime ads) to boycott the service," he added.
Meanwhile, brain scientist Kenichiro Mogi questioned the boycott movement. "This hashtag is not right. As a human being, you shouldn't oppose someone just because they have a slightly different position from yours," Mogi said.
Takachiho University International Political Science Professor Ikuo Gonoi said the online boycott movement is "a form of 'hashtag activism." In this new form of consumer movement in social media, citizens express their opinions on Twitter using hashtags.
In response to the public's reactions, an Amazon Japan public relations staff said the company takes "customers' reactions seriously" and incorporate them in their future productions.
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Written by CJ Robles