Celebrity endorsement in Greater China
Spending on advertising has increased much in line with the tabloidisation of the printed press and the continual expansion of the consumer market in Greater China (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Chinese diaspora). This can be seen especially in the heavy marketing campaigns by skincare product makers, restaurants and the telecommunications industry.
Coca Cola billboard in China featuring Taiwanese and Hong Kong pop stars, and Liu Xiang (middle), gold medallist of men’s 100 metres at the 2004 Olympics. Flickr cc. Courtesy of Xiaming
The more powerful the advertising industry has become, the higher the budgets of the campaigns and their ability to recruit stars as spokespersons. Nowadays, mainland Chinese advertisers often pay handsomely for stars and celebrities. Chinese celebrities can be seen advertising a range of international products including Motorola, Pepsi and Coca Cola in the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
If star images and advertising construct and target specific social groups, how do they address the contemporary Chinese consumers? Are the advertising campaigns global phenomena with local characteristics?