Coconut Palm Group, a Chinese beverage company specialising in coconut milk, is under fire for implying that its product can lead to breast enlargement. On a series of Douyin livestreams this past week, the brand’s feed featured a group of women dancing with packets of milk in their hands.
This isn’t the first time the brand has been marred by a similar controversy. In 2019, Coconut Palm Group was investigated by a market watchdog in Hainan for “unsophisticated language and false claims”. At the time, slogans on its product read: "A can a day and you will be white, tender and bosomy" and "drink from small to big". While the company claimed that “small to big” referred to age rather than breast size, a TVC to accompany these slogans showed women frolicking on a beach. Prior to this incident, the brand used this slogan to advertise another product: “Wives who love their husbands drink Coconut Palm's pomegranate juice.”
In 2021, the beverage-maker was investigated for job ads that promised new recruits cars, houses, high incomes and the potential to be chased by “beautiful girls or handsome boys” upon joining its management training programme. In 2019 and 2021, the company was fined twice for "obstructing social public order or violating good social customs".
On Weibo, netizens were mixed about the brand’s livestream style. While some found it offensive, others argued that using scantily clad women to sell products is a familiar style adopted by many brands.
As a result of Coconut Palm’s antics this month, its follower count appears to have spiked. As of October 9, the brand’s followers on Douyin reached 291,000, increasing by 270,000 followers since October 1. Over 150,000 followers were added in just one day on October 9; 29,000 on October 6; and 71,000 on October 8.
However, this surge in followers hasn't resulted in increased sales. According to Chinese media, total sales accumulated through Coconut Palm's livestreaming in the last month only surpassed RMB9,000 (US$1,255). Previous data shows average daily sales of Coconut Palm livestreaming sessions were RMB 2,500 to 5,000 (or US$349 to US$698).