Kiko Mizuhara 水原希子 tells young Chinese to “listen to themselves”

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Recently in Shanghai and other major cities, commuters seen a new outdoor campaign Meilishuo – a local online community and e-commerce platform focused on fashion and skin-care products. Fronting the campaign is Japanese American model and style icon Kiko Mizuhara 水原希子 – a young women that has battled stifling beauty standards in Japan.

Aimed at an increasing confident young female audience in China, the campaign tag line is 美丽听自己说 – which translates as “In terms of beauty just listen to yourself”. In the out-door ads, Kiko stands in defiant pose with the caption “Everybody has something to say about my beauty, but I only listen to myself”.

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Meilishuo’s outdoor ad in Beijing metro station: Kiko shows her confidence and beauty

This reflects Kiko’s only challenge to the industry, where is has embraced the idea of being ‘flat chested’, saying it is part of her uniqueness and why she has cut-through in an industry defined by stereotype.

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Kiko in the Tencent video campaign

Kiko and her beauty stance are well known to local millennials through her regular coverage in the Japanese style magazine Vivi, which is hugely popular in China, as more recently her cover shot with local Chinese heartthrob Lu Han, for Vogue’s special magazine for local millennials – Vogue Me.

A brave, but strategically inept move for local platform Meilishuo

Established in 2009, Meilishuo focuses on providing an online platform selling fashion apparel, accessories, bags, and beauty product. Their core audience is firmly on local millennial females.

In the local context, young women are starting to gravitate away from tired stereotypes of beauty, increasingly embracing the concept of how individual style creates ‘personal expressions of beauty’.

The use of Kiko Mizuhara – as a non-Chinese, but still Asian women – allows to push and celebrate the idea of ‘individual beauty’ through a non-Chinese context, arguably extending the possibility and inspiration of their brand, beyond the limits of current debates in China.

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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