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Fashion & Accessories March 2014


Luxury brands start to sponsor Chinese dramas

It is not uncommon for Chinese TV audience’s to see a wide variety of luxury goods in Korean TV dramas shown on their TV channels, for example in the most popular drama recently ‘My Love from the Star’. The life of actors in TV dramas is a lifelong pursuit for most people. However, Chinese TV dramas often brings a completely different feeling to the audience, often comedy! The rich second-generation in the show wear sportswear from a local brand or drive a car valued at less than 100,000 RMB, simply because of sponsoring brands.

However, recently this situation has changed as Hermes, Prada, Bvlgari, Givenchy, Ferragamo, Gucci, Burberry, LV, and other luxury brands can be seen in domestic TV drama’s.

In a show on Shanghai TV called Yi Pu Er Zhu, the heroine is wearing a variety of luxury cloths and handbags with big Logos, including those from Hermes, Prada, Bvlgari, and Givenchy. The hero is wearing Italian luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo’s belt and shoes, and drives a Cadillac Escalade valued at over 1.48 Million RMB. As of the beginning of 2014 in a show called A New Era of Ladybro, clothing is sponsored by a dozen international brands including Prada and Sportmax, all of which has changed the image of domestic dramas.

However, luxury brand sponsorship of domestic dramas in China hasn’t become a trend, as most cooperation between producers and the brands is not about product placement, but simply for dramatic effect.

In the past: the production team worried about unnecessary costs

Experienced TV producer Wang Wei said ‘Of course, we want to use the best costumes to dress up our actors, however we have encountered many issues when borrowing clothing from luxury brands initially. Many brands will have proposed plenty of rules, for example, they will only rent products to top actors or lend you them for a week, and if there is any damage we need to compensate them for the full price.”

Now: luxury brands take the initiative to the producers

Wang Wei has also seen that currently there are an increasing number of brands contacting the production team directly wanting to provide sponsorship because of the necessary changing public relations strategy. Previously, brands liked to advertise in high-end luxury magazines or invest in commercial films, but now their PR development is heading to the internet as some of the highly rated domestic dramas on video sites reach and influence an extensive range of people. Product or brand placement on television is beginning to help branding become a trend in future.

Top stars returned and brands followed

If a big star acts in a domestic drama it will significantly increase the attractiveness of the show to luxury brands. ‘Some brands will arrange complete outfit sets for us including clothing, bags, shoes and accessories’ said Lin Chuan a producer.

In the TV series An Xiang, most of Wang Luodan’s (heroine) clothes are from Gucci, this because one of the investors in this drama, Huang Xiaoming (one of the top actors in Mainland China) is the ambassador of Gucci. Sun Li, heroine in the Empresses in the Palace returned to act in a drama called Hot Mom Story after giving birth, many brands lined up to want to show in her postnatal comeback drama.

In general, more and more international Chinese actors and actresses are returning to TV dramas, including Fan Bingbing, Zhao Wei and ZhouXun, which may attract more brands as sponsors.

Shorter shooting cycles, better advertising effect

Korean dramas are able to get a lot of sponsors from luxury brands because they are broadcast weekly and filmed while earlier episodes are being broadcast. This process has the advantage that actors are able to wear new collections and provide better advertising value. However in China, domestic dramas are always broadcast after all episodes have been completed. Even if the drama is sponsored by a brand, by the time the show is aired the products may already be out of season.

Now domestic drama shooting cycles are getting shorter which may increase the possibility for luxury brands to sponsor or advertise in an episode or series. ‘At least out of season products will not be shown in a TV drama today. Outdated products being shown on TV while brands are promoting their new collections is unacceptable.’ said a Marketing Manager of Gucci.


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