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Celebrity endorsement restrictions


The media has recently picked up on the fact that the government is close to final approval of a new policy that will restrict the terms under which celebrity endorsement can be used. This comes after years of film stars, musicians and even successful business names have been seen aligning themselves to almost any brand that will pay them to do so. Money has always talked and their face has always sold.

It has been odd, seeing a famous face on an advert for Chinese medicine on one street, and some metres away on another for earth moving equipment; the brand allegiances are a little odd. The aim of the government is not entirely clear, do they want to stop celebrities from making money by telling them that if they don’t eat baby food or drive an earthmover they cannot endorse them, or are they trying to curb the expansion of private businesses?

Social media has been scathing on the matter asking how much alcohol must Jackie Chan consume in order to pass their standards, or how many miles must he drive a car? The regulation may have some affect, but its more likely to encourage consumers to look for celebrity endorsement rather than question them. Can men promote woman’s products, or is this only an option for a female?
The whole discussion is likely to become a farce and a waste of time, particularly when many would like the government to fix itself, and reduce corruption instead of picking on successful businesses. The government has probably been looking elsewhere in the world for other models that it can adapt to the uniqueness of China, and we can be quite sure that when this new policy is approved and applied, it is likely, certainly in the long term to create more problems than it actually solves because of its short-term focus. Such is often the case.

So in future, what will celebrity endorsement look like? What will footballers endorse other than cars and watches, will they be allowed to advertise fork lift trucks provided they have a license to drive one? Will fashion models be able to advertise kitchens provided they prove that they know how to cook? The list is endless and if this policy is like many others in China, it will be very difficult to police, being full of holes and grey areas. Never the less, it will give us some level of amusement, and no doubt advertising agencies a short term headache until they find a way around it, as is most likely.


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