As a luxury market known for its digital leadership, China needs special treatment from high-end watch brands. Young consumers get most of their information from social platforms such as Weibo or WeChat, and it is difficult for brands to contact them directly, which has led to the so-called ‘fan economy.’
There was a time when being an idol fan meant listening to his / her concert, watching his / her new movie, and buying his / her new CD. However, after entering the ‘new idol era’, things changed. Today, fans are working harder to show their ‘dedication.’ Fan Ye (Fan Bingbing’s younger brother) is one of the rapper groups who have become popular in the past two years. Last year, he uploaded a group of selfies on Weibo. Overnight, 80,000 people paid for the photo, which means fans paid as much as 4.8 million for the photo.
As Chinese residents’ incomes increase, so do their living and consumption standards. Chinese fans can now support idols in more expensive ways, including buying luxury items that they recognize. For many brands, this is the easiest way to promote sales and increase awareness, because the vast majority of young Chinese consumers are new to the luxury market. The question is, how to choose the right idol or celebrity to represent the brand?
Believe in numbers
Ge Hu, ambassador of Piaget
Huo Jianhua, Panerai Brand Ambassador
The logical answer, of course, is to choose a celebrity whose image fits the brand’s positioning, just as Piaget collaborated with Hu Ge. The 37-year-old actor is known for his gentlemanliness and has won numerous performance awards. Or, a brand may deliberately choose a star with a very different image. When Panerai announced its cooperation with Huo Jianhua, China’s Pei Fan was surprised, because the actor’s personality was relatively mild, far from the masculine adventure image of the Italian brand. The same situation happened when Audemars Piguet appointed singer Luhan as brand ambassador. The 29-year-old baby face was incompatible with the tough guy Arnold Schwarzenegger who once represented the brand.
Luhan, Audemars Piguet Brand Ambassador
Angelababy, TAG Heuer Brand Ambassador
In addition, brands make decisions based on hard numbers. For example, Angelababy has 7 million followers and 100 million followers on Instagram and Weibo respectively, which obviously helps to increase the popularity of TAGHeuer in China. Similarly, 29-year-old pop star Wu Yifan also let 46 million Weibo fans know the name of BVLGARI Bulgari. But are these numbers really reliable? Last year, Wu Yifan pushed Ariana Grande to the top of the iTunes music charts in the United States, but it also caused controversy over malicious charts.
Yifan Wu, BVLGARI Brand Ambassador
More sensible way
Jay Chou, Brand Ambassador of Tudor
It is generally believed that most Chinese celebrities have the problem of fake online visibility (such as brushing the list and commenting). Although the brand is also clear, it is powerless. In fact, the brand’s Chinese employees are more inclined to let it go, because they also need good data to report to headquarters. One way to solve the problem is to work with older celebrities whose long career and industry reputation are enough to make up for the ‘lack’ of the number of followers on social media. Tudor brand ambassador Jay Chou is a good example. The 40-year-old singer and actor has won the World Music Awards China’s best-selling artist award four times, and starred in the Hollywood movie ‘The Green Hornet’. Of course, Zenith Zenith Eason Chan, the 45-year-old singer and actor, ‘U87’ was named by Time Magazine as one of the top five Asian albums to buy in 2005.
Eason Chan, Zenith Brand Ambassador
The above examples will not change the fact that young idols are very popular in China, and their strong influence makes them strong candidates for brand ambassadors. Chopard chose Wang Yuan as brand ambassador, which was a bold attempt. Wang Yuan is a member of the popular youth group TFBoys, and was selected in the 2017 list of the 30 most influential teenagers in the world by Time Magazine. The 19-year-old star’s collaboration with Chopard may surprise some people, but be aware that his fans include mom and sister fans who are willing to accept Chopard jewelry and watches, and these female fans are the celebrity endorsement The core of the strategy.
Wang Yuan, Chopard Brand Ambassador
In today’s Chinese luxury market, cooperating with celebrities is one of the most important marketing methods. The focus of fine watchmakers is more on building brand awareness than directly driving sales. In the final analysis, it is to choose the right spokesperson. (Photo / text watch home compiled by Xu Chaoyang)