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Hanoi Businesses Arouse Controversy With Shirtless Men Promotional Events

Apparently it’s shirtless season in Hanoi, and local shops are taking full advantage of this trend to orchestrate outrageous public relations (PR) stunts.

Just last week, Vietnam’s cybersphere heated up after scores of photos of topless waiters serving grilled ribs at a restaurant opening in Hanoi appeared online. According to Dan Tri, the trend originated from a new eatery on Thai Ha Street.

Tran Thai Linh, a Hanoian who went to the event, told the news source that she attended the opening because she was curious, but was disappointed that the men only appeared briefly while the restaurant showcased its new dishes.

Ribs with a side of skin in Hanoi. Photo via VietnamNet.

The photo album of the PR gimmick spread like wildfire on Facebook, where netizens shared a mixed range of reactions to the topless men. Most were undoubtedly excited about the event, but some expressed concerns that the risqué nature of it might be inappropriate in the company of children and elderly people.

Nguyen Minh Hoang, head of the restaurant’s marketing department, explained to VietnamNet in an interview that the opening was a private event meant for students and office workers aged 18 to 35.

“However, some people who couldn't attend gave their tickets to their relatives and acquaintances. That's why there are elderly people and children,” Hoang elucidated.

Apart from steakhouses, a new hair salon in the capital’s Cau Giay District also got the topless treatment lately when photos emerged online showing three female customers enjoying the ministrations of shirtless hairdressers.

The addition of the tie makes them extra qualified for the job. Photo via VietnamNet.

Trinh Minh Hang, a Quang Ninh native who contacted the salon, shared with the news outlet that the image is mostly a scam because, according to the owner, the male workers are only present during special events. Moreover, they’re not real hairstylists, as they can only wash and blow-dry customers’ hair.

Using sex as a form of marketing is the oldest trick in the book in the advertising world, and in Vietnam it’s no different. In 2012, VietJet Air made headlines internationally after a photo collection surfaced online showing dozens of female models posing for a promotional photoshoot in bikinis. The air carrier denied involvement in the leak, saying that it was “beyond VietJet Air's intention and control”.

[Photo via Dan Tri]


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