Retail in Asia


China bans celebrity endorsement under ‘traditional virtue’ missive

China announced on November 1 it plans to ban local celebrity endorsements relating to several industries, as President Xi Jinping continues his campaign to redefine his country both corporately and socially, especially among the youth.

SEE ALSO: Despite luxury market slump, Tapestry pushes into China

The new missive bars celebrities, key opinion leaders and influencers from spruiking certain products via social media, television commercials, live streaming and interviews.

Private tutoring and health foods, tobacco products, healthcare and medical equipment are among the targeted industries, according to a notice issued by Beijing’s top market regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation, along with six other government agencies.

“Celebrities should consciously practise socialist core values ​​in their advertising endorsement activities,” the rules stated.

“Activities should conform to social morals and traditional virtues.”

Given the nature of the missive, other industries, like fashion, beauty and luxury, could soon be added to the list of banned endorsements, given their appeal to youth in China, to uphold these “traditional virtues.”

“We need to educate people, especially the youths, with the Hongqi canal spirit that China’s socialism is won by hard work, struggles and even sacrifice of lives. This was not only true in the past but also true in the new era,” Xi said, according to Chinese state media.

“Today, our material life has been greatly improved, but the spirit of perseverance like ‘the bull-headed old man removing the mountain’ and the hardworking style must not change.”

Major international luxury brands continue to appoint local celebrity ambassadors in China by appointing Chinese music stars and actors to boost their brand appeal to youths.

In 2022, Louis Vuitton announced Chinese boy idol group TNT (also known as Teens in Times) as brand ambassadors and released their campaign video as a warm-up for the upcoming Spring 2023 men’s show.

The announcement comes two years after Xi began a sweeping crackdown on Chinese corporations including the tech and entertainment industries, which included e-commerce giant Alibaba, in addition to Chinese businesspeople.

SEE ALSO: Tim’s China opens 500th coffee shop

This latest missive looks to further drive home the president’s attempt to reform social values and youth consumer behaviour, under the banner of “common prosperity”.

Last month, Xi won a third term as China’s leader at the quinquennial congress of the Chinese Communist party held in Beijing.