Jo Malone London, a British perfume and scented candle brand, named Boyega as its first male global ambassador last year. However, the company apologized to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens star after the commercial he created for the brand was redone for the Chinese market replacing him with a Chinese actor. The original commercial, titled “London Gent,” featured Boyega walking around London’s Peckham neighborhood and featured a multicultural cast. The commercial won The Fragrance Foundation Virtual Awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign.
The Chinese version of the commercial replaced Boyega with local actor Liu Haoran and didn’t feature a multicultural cast.
“We deeply apologize for what, on our end, was a mistake in the local execution of the John Boyega campaign,” Jo Malone said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “John is a tremendous artist with great personal vision and direction. The concept for the film was based on John’s personal experiences and should not have been replicated.”
“While we immediately took action and removed the local version of the campaign, we recognize that this was painful and that offense was caused,” the statement added. “We respect John, and support our partners and fans globally. We are taking this misstep very seriously and we are working together as a brand to do better moving forward.”
This is the original commercial that the Chinese did over.
We are thrilled to announce that our Jo Malone London Gent film featuring @JohnBoyega is the proud winner of The Fragrance Foundation Virtual Awards 2020 for Best Media Campaign. #ScentofAGent #TheFragranceFoundationAwards pic.twitter.com/rNZpTVXLB6
— Jo Malone London (@JoMaloneLondon) August 27, 2020
Boyega told Women’s Wear Daily last year that he used the campaign to highlight his background.
“There’s a mixture of things you see me do in the film, you see me in a professional environment on a film set, then with family and it’s about breaking free of the concept of ‘going back or returning to your roots’ but more about the roots existing with this new side of my life,” he said. “It’s not a chapter that stops.”