CELEBRITY POWER IN CHINA translates to high visibility and sales, and luxury fashion houses are scrambling for the country’s biggest stars to front campaigns. British fashion house Burberry announced the new faces of their upcoming Chinese New Year campaign — A-listers Zhao Wei and Zhou Dongyu. The ad campaign, to be revealed on January 3 across all Burberry channels, is expected to rack in astronomical views on Chinese social media platforms.
Cash-rich Chinese millennials are no longer compelled by Western faces. Fuelled by national pride and a decidedly Asian aesthetic, they want someone relatable in terms of upbringing, Asian values and physical appearance. China-born model-actress Angelababy is the face of Dior, whileChinese leading actress Yang Mi fronts Michael Kors.
A Golden Horse Best Actress winner with a likeable persona, Zhou fit the bill to be Burberry‘s first female ambassador in Asia last October. Zhou followed in the footsteps of fellow Chinese celebrity Kris Wu, who was appointed as Burberry’s first Chinese ambassador in China.
The bankable pair didn’t share Burberry promotional duties for long. Wu is now the property of Louis Vuitton. He inked the lucrative deal with the French fashion house late last year.
Wu is the classic case study of China celebrity power in retail. A former K-pop boybander, the China-based solo artist commands armies of diehard fans willing to splurge on his label of choice.
Hoards of fans queued for hours ahead of Burberry’s show in London Fashion Week last year. Analysts at Barclays reported that Wu’s Burberry ad campaign boosted sales as well as brand awareness in China. An Alibaba Research Institute report found more than 4.5 million users daily search for products worn and used by Chinese celebrities on the Taobao e-commerce site.
Critics have thrown shade at Wu, saying the young upstart — whose perpetual frown, fey looks and lanky frame are commonplace in China — is undeserving as the face of the storied Parisian brand. These critics are clearly unaware that the proof is in the sales ledgers.