Goldkorn_for_screenJeremy Goldkorn by Fantake via Flickr

A Lady Diana lookalike in underwear used on Chinese advertisements shocked at least the British part of the world, but Danwei’s Jeremy Goldkorn tells The Guardian that is it business as usual as far as it concerns China.
In The Guardian:

Jeremy Goldkorn, who runs the Beijing-based media website partner of the Guardian) says using images of stars on products without their knowledge has been popular since 2003, when several real estate developers claimed Bill Clinton as a spokesman. The current US president has proved no less commercially-minded, apparently taking a break from governing to plug the “Blockberry Whirlwind” smartphone(not, of course, to be confused with the BlackBerry Storm).

The misuse of these celebrity endorsements is so widespread in China, few consumers take them serious anyway, says Goldkorn.

Luckily Chinese consumers don’t take the ads at face value. “I don’t think Chinese people really trust celebrity endorsements anyway – but they can make a product stand out from the crowd. That’s why companies continue to do it,” says Goldkorn.

And affronted western stars should spare a thought for their Chinese counterparts. When Muzimei shot to fame for her graphic sex blog, entrepreneurs were swift to use her name for products without her permission. The condoms and underwear might have been predictable. But few would relish lending their name to a rat poison.

Jeremy Goldkorn is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. When you need his insights at your meeting or conference, do get in touch.

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