Chinese Vlogger Gets Huge Sum in Ad Auction


Chinese Vlogger Papi Jiang has reached an auction price of 22 million RMB (that’s about 3.4 USDs) for advertising on her content.

The vlogger we called China’s Seinfeld in a previous post, has a busy week.

The new star of China’s internet culture, Papi Jiang was first criticised by official Party newspaper  The Peoples Daily  for the foul language she has become famous for (but to be fair, it is not her cursing that made her famous, it was the clever way she used it to satirise a contemporary reality in China).

After being taken offline briefly, Papi promised to omit the ‘swear words’, and now her vlog is back, and even more popular, due to the censors’ attention – yes, censorship can be good for you.

Then today, brand endorsement on her vlog has ‘gone under the hammer’ and fetched a whopping 3.4 million USDs.

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One of Papi Jiang’s videos – where she imitates ‘drama queens’

The auction quickly escalated in 100,000 RMB lots until it got to a figure that made heads turn – with some suggesting this is the advent of China’s own ‘cyberstar economy’.

The auction winner, who thought it was a cheap price, was e-commerce brand Lili & Beauty (丽人丽妆) – which represents key cosmetics brands in China such as Shu Uemura, Max Factor and Maybelline.

The auction is already creating buzz on China’s social networks, with netizens on Weibo (China’s Twitter) using the hashtag of ‘super expensive Papi Jiang ad’ (#papi酱天价广告#).  With sentiment being mostly positive, with a few questioning why she deserved this sudden windfall.

But always remember, it is not the celebrity but the message that counts

While this may be good investment for Lili & Beauty in terms of creating massive spike in followers, it is ultimately the engagement that determines value.  If the brand allow Papi Jiang the freedom to write their brands into her natural content, then there is a great chance of success.   If it feels forced, it may have a negative impact on the brand.

As part our work at SMART, we advice Resonance clients how to optimise the ‘engagement’ that a celebrity can create, not just the followers.   Celebrity endorsement must be mobilised – like all elements of marketing – to present the core values of the brand to consumers.  Celebrities are too much of an investment to be tactical, they are necessarily strategic.

About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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