In contemporary China, sassy idols like singer Wang Ju – also referred to as “the Chinese Beyonce” – are garnering attention for embodying the rise of female empowerment.
For foreign brands, this change in cultural attitudes poses a new marketing opportunity. By looking deeper into the case study of reality talent show “Producer 101,” brands can envision a wider than expected scope of modern influencers that China’s young females are drawn to, and consider strategic takeaways for effective brand endorsements.
“Producer 101” is a talent show that seeks to form China’s latest hit girl group. By narrowing 101 contestants down to 11 finalists, the band Rocket Girls 101 was born. The show generated massive viewing figures, with over 4.8 billion views across ten episodes. The final episode, broadcast on June 23, was watched live by 650,000 people, and was played over 200 million times the following day.
Global luxury companies have been fast to leverage the show’s success. Chanel, Lancôme and social e-commerce app Xiaohongshu (RED) were some of the brands to shoot dedicated videos and advertisements on the topic of the show.
Maxime Scheyen, International Director for Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) fragrances, told Jing Daily, “We have been collaborating with Huang Zitao [the host of 101] and shot a capsule advertisement with him for YSL Mon Paris. The video suggests Tao inviting a girl on a trip to Paris – but we never see who the girl is.” This advertisement generated a tremendous amount of engagement online and was featured in the finale episode of 101.
Two of the show’s most popular contestants, Wang Ju and Yang Chaoyue, were highly discussed on social media – despite seeming poles apart in personality and style.
26-year-old Wang Ju embodies a feminist, independent figure. Appearing fierce and self-confident, Weibo fans commended Ju for “taking control of her life.” 19-year-old Yang Chaoyue, on the other hand, embodies a more traditional female role in China, depending on others for help and guidance, a subordinate personality who is regularly seen crying.
Over the course of the show, Wang Ju’s spunky, modern attitude and confident persona received extensive media attention. According to The Guardian, Wang has developed a cult following of fans who find her relatable and an inspiration, despite being considered “too short” and “too heavy” by China’s exacting beauty standards. But at the end, Yang Chaoyue ranked N°3 with 138.5 million votes, despite her obvious weaker skills while Wang Ju went from N°2 to N°15, with “only” 63 million votes.
–This article originally appeared on Jing Daily.