On Super Bowl Sunday, a shopping app splurged on a repeat advertisement, and it wasn’t Amazon. It was Temu, an ecommerce app associated with the Chinese firm Pinduoduo. Despite being only four months old, the app has recently been one of the most downloaded free apps on Apple’s App Store and Google Play in the United States.
The 30-second commercial, which aired in two 30-second spots, portrays a woman with curly hair trying on an infinite number of clothing by simply touching her smartphone. As she adds stuff to her shopping cart, they appear on her as well as the many characters surrounding her as she strolls. The closing message of the advertisement is: “Download the TEMU app and shop like a billionaire.”
However, a shopping portal for billionaires Temu is not. It is a bargain-hunter app that provides super-cheap things sent directly from Chinese warehouses. In recent months, the app has flooded many users’ social media feeds and offers a reward system of product credits for persuading friends and family to join up and complete orders.
However, Temu has also generated dozens of complaints to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where customers have rated it 1.81 out of 5. It has a BBB grade of C and is not accredited.
In China, Pinduodu has a market capitalization of over $116 billion and has been successful at selling incredibly inexpensive products. It has also been accused of hosting sales of counterfeit, illicit, or misrepresented items.
In the United States, the majority of complaints on the BBB website allege that products were of low quality, delivered late or not at all, and customer service was unresponsive.
The majority of online Super Bowl viewers responded negatively to the Super Bowl ad, raising questions about how the new app could afford the event’s steep $7 million per 30-second commercial rate. “What is TEMU and how do they have so much advertising dollars?” tweeted a design officer.
What is TEMU and how do they have so many ad dollars? #SuperBowl
— Craig Elimeliah (@CraigElimeliah) February 13, 2023
how tf did temu get a superbowl ad
— lidia⁷ 🤍 (@chaepeachy) February 13, 2023
Others were worried that Temu promoted excessive consumption. According to Earth.org, annual clothing sales have increased from 100 to 200 billion pieces while the average number of times they are worn has reduced by 36%. “Ad for quick fashion? Ew. One viewer tweeted, “We shouldn’t be supporting pollution, textile waste, and cheap labour.”
A fast fashion ad? Ew. We shouldn’t be promoting pollution, textile waste and cheap labor 👎🏼 #SuperBowl #temu
— Cat (@_cattwoman) February 13, 2023
Not happy that we had to get two Temu ads. #superbowlads #Super Bowl
— Chris Farrell (@chrisefarrell) February 13, 2023
Temu ad has to be the worst in Superbowl history
— FloppyShot (@FloppyShot) February 13, 2023
Fans of Temu, however, feared that the widespread use of the app would result from the purchase of prominent Super Bowl advertisements. Jon Syu tweeted, “I’m kind of annoyed that Temu advertised during the Super Bowl because they’ve been my hidden source of cheap junk for the past year.”
I’m kinda pissed that Temu had a superbowl ad cause that’s been my secret source of cheap crap for the last year.
— Jon Syu (@jonsyu) February 13, 2023
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