Temu returns to Super Bowl 58 with a new commercial
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Temu, the controversial Chinese e-commerce giant that wants to take it on Amazonreturns to Sunday’s big game with a Super Bowl ad that lawmakers want Paramount Global and CBS not running.
The company, which is owned PDD Tenanciesskyrocketed to prominence last year after running an ad during the big game just months after its inception.
Last year’s ad touted Temu’s low prices and invited customers to shop “like a billionaire”. The multi-million dollar investment put Temu on the map and by the end of 2023, it was the No. 1 most downloaded app in the US with monthly active users reaching 51 million this January , up nearly 300% year over year, according to data from Sensor Tower.
Details of this year’s announcement have not been released, but it is already mired in controversy.
The company is looking to win over US consumers by being the next best “store of everything” with lower prices than competitors, but lawmakers say they using slave labor in their supply chain and exploiting their customers.
On Wednesday, 11 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the CEOs of CBS, which broadcasts the Super Bowl, and the parent company Paramount urging them not to run the ad.
“Since last year’s Super Bowl, Congress, through the House Select Committee on the Chinese Community Party, has found alarming findings that indicate Temu has a pattern of non-compliance with illegal products entering the United States market,” the messenger read.
“In particular, Temu’ has no system to ensure compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). of the UFLPA,'” he says, citing the House committee report.
Allowing Temu’s trade to air “would be a disappointment to the Chinese Communist Party against the home team,” the letter said.
The letter was sent by Rep. Carol Miller, RW.V., and signed by Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Jim Banks, R-Ind., Nicole Malliotakis, RN.Y., Christopher Mac a ‘ Govan, RN.J. ., Pete Stauber, R-Minn., Ronny Jackson, R-Tex., Michelle Steel, R-Calif., Beth Van Duyne, R-Tex., James Baird, R-Ind. and Mike Carey, R-Ohio.
Paramount and CBS declined to comment.
Temu, along with Shein and other apparel retailers with a manufacturing presence in China, has been under congressional investigation by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party since May.
While cotton and other raw materials that can be traced to forced labor is a problem throughout the entire fashion industry, Shein regularly provides data on how often banned cotton is found in his clothing and publication of the results of the studies it carries out on its manufacturers. Other vendors also publish search results.
Temu has yet to make such data public.
“Company officials reluctantly point out boilerplate terms and conditions asking suppliers not to use forced labour, but Temu does no inspections and has no compliance system to prevent riots,” said a member of the committee, Speaker Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., in his Journal Friday. “The company even admitted that it does not specifically prohibit third-party sellers from selling products based on their origin in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region’ and completely ignore the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.”
In a statement to CNBC, Luetkemeyer called Temu’s ad “sick.”
“Some people watch the Super Bowl for commercials as much as the game. It’s sickening to think that a company built on slave labor with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party is going to appeal directly to millions of Americans all at once,” says Luetkemeyer. “I hope it only draws attention to the back story of Temu and Pinduoduo both if and when people see it. A great ad for the site’s freebies is a cover for the ugliest pig around.”
In response, a Temu spokesperson told CNBC that their standards and practices regarding the use of forced labor are “no different” from major e-commerce players like “Amazon, eBay and Etsy” and the accusations are “unfounded.”
“Before setting up their stores and listing products on Temu, all sellers must sign an agreement. This document is a guarantee that they will maintain legal and compliant business operations, and adhere strictly to the legal standards and regulations of their specific markets,” said a spokesperson.
“The use of forced, penal or child labor is prohibited. Employment with all our merchants and suppliers must be completely voluntary. They will respect freedom of association and workers’ rights to collective bargaining. Parties must pay their employees and contractors on time and comply with applicable local wage and hour laws.”