Over the course of 2021, major global brands — even those who avoided getting caught up in recent political dust-ups, such as the Xinjiang cotton controversy in March — have found themselves embroiled in a complicated and contentious new era in China. Earlier this year, government regulators launched a wide-ranging crackdown on celebrities and the “fan economy,” the speed and intensity of which left heads spinning. In recent months, luxury brands have struggled to wrap their heads around which potential brand ambassadors are relatively “safe” or quickly replace spokespeople who found themselves caught up in controversy and scandal.
Having come to rely on the Chinese market to drive revenue in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic while depending heavily on domestic celebrities and major influencers (aka KOLs, or key opinion leaders) to promote their products, brands may now need to seriously reconsider their long-term marketing strategies.
For the latest installment of our Insight Report series, Jing Daily turns to the ongoing crackdown on celebrities and the so-called “fan economy” in China, addressing the question marks that remain as brands weigh the long-term impact on how they approach the China market. Do celebrity or influencer-led marketing campaigns even make sense anymore in China? Are “virtual idols” a better bet, or just a passing fad? And what can brands do to minimize the potential of scandal in a politically sensitive environment?
Available now on our Reports page, What China’s Big Celebrity Crackdown Means For Luxury addresses these and many other questions in the brief but actionable format of our Insight Series.