Martin Luther King Jr.'s Image Used To Promote Chinese Online Sale

“I have a dream...” of great savings! The stylized image of American civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. has begun appearing in ads for Chinese internet mall Taobao's upcoming Sales Day. Short videos plugging the sale, some of which feature the late legendary leader, have been popping up on a number of Chinese video viewing websites like Ku6.

Credit Twitter user Jake Fromer with noticing and posting screen grabs of the ads early on December 5th, 2013. Taobao's “12/12” Sale Day is just one week away so more such ads may be in the works... unless someone expresses sufficient outrage over the use (undoubtedly unauthorized) of MLK's image. On the other hand, things could be worse... at least Taobao didn't dub their sale Black Friday.

The ads are eye-catching even without the startling appearance of King, employing bright graphics in red and gold. The style takes cues from historical communist propaganda posters.

One scene in particular showing King holding up a “little red book” presumably stuffed with sales discount vouchers evokes images of China's Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong, around the time of the Cultural Revolution almost 50 years ago.

Of course, Taobao wouldn't, er, dream of exploiting the late Chairman for the sake of selling a capitalist advertising campaign to the Chinese public. Some folks with some influence just might feel offended by that. (via Shanghaiist and MOMA)