China’s Top 5 Celebrity Brand Ambassadors of 2015

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Luxury brands all around the world are famous for choosing the right “face” to represent their brand image to the public. This “face” is most often a well-known celebrity–actor, model, singer, etc. which the public can relate to. Brands have continued this same trend in China–choosing the most loved and adored Chinese celebrities as brand ambassadors for their campaigns. Read on to find out the top 5 Chinese celebrities used as brand ambassadors in 2015.

  1. 范冰冰 Fan Bing Bing

Fan bingbing1

  • Notable Brand Associations: Louis Vuitton
  • Number of Weibo followers: 42.2 million
  • Occupation: Chinese actress, television producer, and pop singer
  • Hometown: Born in Qingdao but was raised in Yantai

Quite possibly one of the most recognizable faces in Chinese media today, Fan Bingbing rose to stardom in 1999 in the Chinese hit television series My Fair Princess(还珠格格), in which she played a supporting role as Jinsuo. She has since rose to international stardom, appearing in Hollywood mainstream blockbusters,  “Iron Man 3” and “X-Men”. Fan has gained much attention for her elaborate red carpet gowns, seen especially at Cannes Film Festival. Meanwhile, she acts as brand ambassador to several luxury brands including Cartier, ODD, Mercedes Benz, and most notably, Louis Vuitton.

At the Louis Vuitton launch in Beijing, she was the “face” of the Louis Vuitton series 2 exhibition, appearing alongside global brand ambassadors like Nicole Kidman.

Fan Bing Bing Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton features Chinese superstar Fan BingBing alongside international Hollywood star Nicole Kidman on Weibo, reinforcing its brand image.

2. 刘雯 Liu Wen

Liu Wen

As the first East Asian Victoria’s Secret model, Liu Wen has become China’s most renowned super model.

  • Notable Brand Associations: Tiffany & Co., Coach, Victoria’s Secret, Estee Lauder
  • Number of Weibo followers: 13.6 million
  • Occupation: Chinese super model
  • Hometown: Yongzhou, Hunan

Liu Wen is most recognized for being the first model of East Asian decent to walk down the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. In 2010, she also became Estée Lauder’s first spokesperson of Chinese descent. She is currently considered one of the most famous Chinese super models in high fashion and was recently featured in a video campaign ad for Tiffany Keys’ Unlock the Possibilities campaign.

Liu Wen is also simultaneously a brand ambassador for Coach. Coach created a unique hashtag #Chat with Liuwen on Coach Weibo# to engage with their digital followers and coattail off of the Chinese super model’s enormous online fan base. Coach also launched photos of Liu Wen on Tuding, an Instagram-like application in China.

Coach used Chinese super model Liu Wen to engage with users on Tuding, an instagram-like app in China, as well as Weibo.

Coach used Chinese super model Liu Wen to engage with users on Tuding, an instagram-like app in China, as well as Weibo.

3. 吴亦凡 Kris Wu

Kris Wu1

Former boy band member of Korean pop group EXO, Kris Wu now acts as brand ambassador to Beats By Dr. Dre and Givenchy. He currently has 11.8 million Weibo followers.

  • Notable Brand Associations: Beats by Dr. Dre, Givenchy
  • Weibo followers: 11.8 million
  • Occupation: Chinese singer and actor
  • Hometown: Guangzhou, Guangdong

Born in China and raised in Canada, this former Korean boy band member is a prime example of the new wave of overseas returnee Chinese or, 海龟 hai gui (translated to sea turtle),  who have come back to the mainland to find fortune and fame. A former member of Korean band EXO, Wu has since pursued a solo artist career, releasing his first solo song, “Time Boils the Rain (时间煮雨)” in 2014. The song was a huge success–breaking a record of 1 million plays within just 3 hours and 25 minutes of its release. It was also used as the soundtrack song for the Chinese box office hit “Tiny Times 3”.

Representing urban-chic brands like Beats by Dr. Dre, as well as luxury fashion brands like Givenchy, Kris Wu is one of the most recognized male celebrities in China.

Beats by Dr. Dre used Kris Wu as their primary brand ambassador, launching their “Straight Outta Campaign” from his personal Weibo Account.

Beats By Dr, Dre used Kris Wu to launch their "Straight Outta" Campaign by having him post their campaign image directly from his personal Weibo account

Beats By Dr, Dre used Kris Wu to launch their “Straight Outta” Campaign by having him post their campaign UGC image directly from his personal Weibo account.

4. 鹿晗 Lu Han

Lu Han

A former EXO boy band member hailing from Beijing, pop sensation Lu Han was ranked sixth among the top ten most popular entertainment stars by China National Radio in 2014.

  • Notable Brand Associations: L’Oréal Paris
  • Number of Weibo followers: 11.8 million
  • Occupation: Chinese singer and actor
  • Hometown: Beijing

Also a former member of EXO alongside Kris Wu, Lu Han, has become famous in his own right as a Chinese entertainer. He played a starring role in the 2015 Chinese box office hit film “20 Once Again”. With a Weibo following of 11.8 million, Lu Hun is amongst the top ten most prominent male celebrities in China. As of August 5, 2014, Lu Han became the Guinness World Record holder of the “Most Comments on a Weibo Post” record. Lu Han is particularly popular with the younger demographic of high schooler and preteens in China, the demographic of young people born after 1990s or after 2000s, or “九零后” and “零零后”。

Loreal uses Lu Han's online Weibo fan club account to engage with a large amount of users.

L’Oréal Paris uses Lu Han’s online Weibo fan club account to engage with his large number of online followers, most of which are young teenagers who were born after the 1990s.

5. 李宇春 Chris Li YuChun

Li YunChun

Li YunChun rose to stardom when she won the nationwide singing contest, Super Girl, in 2005.

  • Notable Brand Associations: Givenchy
  • Number of Weibo followers: 3.7 million
  • Occupation: Chinese pop singer and actress
  • Hometown:Chengdu, Sichuan

Much like the Kelly Clarkson of China, Li YuChun rose to stardom when she won the nationwide singing contest, Super Girl, in 2005. Known for her tomboy looks, Li YunChun has become a fashion and luxury brand favorite, supporting brands like Givenchy and Hugo Boss. Li YuChun has since continued her music career, releasing three albums that each ranked as the top selling album of that year. She is frequently spotted at high fashion events around the world sporting name brand outfits.

Aside from using Liu Wen in its video ad campaign, Tiffany & Co. also used Li YuChun to promote its Tiffany Keys Unlocking Possibility Campaign through its Wechat minisite. For more information on how brands use Wechat minisites and other campaign assets to promote their messages on digital space, download Resonance China’s Social Branding Reports.

Tiffany & Co. used Li YunChun for their Keys Campaign. The brand featured her image throughout its Wechat minisite.

Tiffany & Co. used Li YunChun for their Keys Campaign. The brand featured her image throughout its Wechat minisite.

Too many brands, too few celebrities

Although the Chinese celebrity scene has become the source of international focus, it is still relatively new and there are not enough celebrities to go around for each brand.

Instead of celebrities being loyal to just one brand–they are representing a number of different brands who are hoping to coattail off their already established fame and celebrity image.

Resonance China, Shanghai’s premier social media agency, has created a series of marketing reports which tracks international brand campaigns and brand presence in Chinese digital space.  One consistent trend throughout the reports is that media posts receive a large jump in engagements if they include a photo of a Chinese celebrity.

This goes to show that while China’s version of “Hollywood” is just in its beginning phases, it already commands a strong influence over millions of online users.

For more information on Chinese Celebrity Brand Ambassadors and brands in Chinese digital space, check out Resonance China’s marketing reports.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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