The Buddha is the New Face of Customer Service

Apparently the Buddha works at a San Francisco customer service start up. At least so it appears when you first see Zendesk’s brand mascot, The Mentor, who is elsewhere more affectionately referred to as “Buddhy.” Ugh.

Buddhy is cultural appropriation at its most flagrant. Zendesk has taken Buddhist iconography, particularly that of Budai, and repackaged it as an integral component of their brand asset portfolio. What’s worse is that when you flip through their social media stream, ZenDesk employees repeatedly play on Oriental stereotypes and often put The Mentor in situations that many millions of Asian Buddhists would immediately perceive as blatant disrespect.

Zendesk has been parading their mascot around for years now. I’m amazed I didn’t learn about it until just this past weekend, especially since it seems so many other Buddhists have already been talking about it.

What do you think about Zendesk’s brand asset choice?

HT to Wanwan.

One thought on “The Buddha is the New Face of Customer Service

  1. Archivist’s Note: Comments have been preserved from the original website for archival purposes; however, comments are now closed.

    AnonymousOctober 28, 2014 at 9:09 AM
    UGH is right. I’ve totally seen these ads around when I used to live in SF. I think the slogan is also quite interesting. If this is “the new face of customer service”, what was the old face?

    Was OnceNovember 25, 2014 at 6:54 AM
    Don’t identify by what you see.

    AnonymousNovember 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM
    So much facepalm here…. ugh is right.

    pdelevettApril 15, 2015 at 9:59 PM
    Couldn’t agree more; tasteless and offensive. Smacks of using blackface Mammies in your ads.

    Charles PostonDecember 26, 2015 at 9:22 AM
    Name any advertising that isn’t tasteless and offensive. That is the standard. Bombing innocents is far more offensive. This doesn’t even register as a sound.

    Heather DunnApril 23, 2016 at 4:02 PM
    So unless children are getting killed, we shouldn’t care? What an ass-hat. I’ve heard this argument used against feminists, too, a million times.

Comments are closed.