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The past week or so has not been the best of times for Leica in China.
After a video came out that showed the Tiananmen Square incident and associated it with Leica, the German camera brand has been banned from Chinese social media and is doing massive damage control.
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The video, called “The Hunt,” shows a cameraman evading Chinese police but not before surreptitiously snapping a picture of the iconic Tank Man, the protester who stood in front of tanks holding nothing but grocery bags.
Given Leica’s close partnership with Huawei on their smartphones, this ad was less than well received.
In fact, any mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square event is banned on Chinese Internet.
Spokesperson for Leica, Dirk Große-Leege, said of the video that, “the video was not commissioned, financed or approved by any company in the Leica Group. We expressly regret any confusion and will take further legal steps to prevent unauthorized use of our brand.”
Leica has still not explained how it was made and what exactly the nature of its relationship with Brazilian marketing firm F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi is.
The marketing firm didn’t shy away from promoting the video on their social media accounts either, posting it on its Twitter account on April 16.
The collaborators behind the film said, “Rare are the films that allow immersion in concept and development like this. We studied, for over a year, several stories of photographers and, mainly, the obstacles they had to overcome to achieve the striking photos of their careers. Without their bravery and boldness, maybe many stories would have never been known around the world.”
You can read all about the film on this website.
Among other things, it details the process behind the ad and doesn’t shy away from its association with Leica.
So, even with Leica’ official disavowal, we’re no closer to knowing what’s up.