Celebrity endorsements are an effective marketing strategy everywhere, but in China, a local celebrity spokesperson can prove especially valuable for prestige brands. More than one in three brands in this year’s Index feature at least one Chinese celebrity endorsement and multiple brand partnerships are common for top personalities. In China, the public is generally prone to be highly influenced by celebrity recommendations on social media — “users believe what their favorite celebrities talk about in the blogs,” says one fan. “A female singer that I am ‘following’ on Weibo loves sharing her new cosmetics with us. She always tries different new products like lipsticks and eyeliners from different brands and makes comparisons. From her blog posts, I can learn how to do makeup in a better way and understand which brand has a better product.”

Aligning with the right local celebrity is a smart strategy for luxury brands in China, especially as they enter a market where many may still be unfamiliar with them. Furthermore, as brands begin to grow their social media communities, harnessing the influence of celebrities – many who have followers well in the tens of millions on their social channels – provides an effective way to reach a much wider audience. 70% of the celebrities with a Sina Weibo page mention the brands they endorse at least once and some of the more prolific celebrities such as Zhou Xun for Chanel and Liu Wen for Estée Lauder have mentioned the brands they endorse at least 40 times.

Just how important are local celebrity partnerships? Consider some of these examples highlighted in this year’s study:

  • 80% of brands in this year’s Index produce videos exclusively for the Chinese market, featuring Chinese actors and cities. 30% of the top 20 most viewed videos featured a Chinese celebrity.
  • When Dior promoted the Chinese launch of their online magazine, DiorMag, the brand only received 33 reposts and 21 comments on its Sina Weibo page, compared with 8,187 “likes”, 252 shares, and 111 comments for the same content on Facebook. Less than a week later, the brand enlisted popular Chinese media personality Hung Haung to live-tweet a haute couture event on Dior’s Weibo page. With more than 4.5 million followers, Haung’s tweets dramatically boosted engagement.
  • To promote its “Sparkling Secrets” exhibition in Shanghai, Swarovski announced on Sina Weibo that celebrity/actor Wu Qilong would attend the opening party. Boosted by Wu’s personal Weibo following of nearly 12 million fans, the post received 13,124 reposts and 1,969 comments.

For more information on the Digital IQ Index: China, download an excerpt of the report here.


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