The popularity of C-dramas has created an opening for brands. But pleasing social media-savvy fans requires careful placement according to accepted wisdom about fashion and culture.
For years, Chinese dramas (also known as C-dramas) have been growing in global popularity. According to an iQIYI survey conducted last year, 76 percent of respondents across 26 countries have begun sampling the genre within the past two years alone. With streaming services such as iQiyi and even Netflix introducing mega-popular homegrown content to audiences worldwide, it is clear that such an increase in on-screen presence creates opportunities for businesses to tap local stars as the next fashion trendsetters in both domestic and global consumer markets.
But not everything seen on TV resonates with social media-savvy C-drama fans. For many netizens, on-screen portrayal must be realistically supplemented through fashion and accessories to complement the storyline, otherwise shows and brands can expect a backlash — such as the trending Weibo #DramaIreSyndrome hashtag, where netizens complained that their favorite narrative failed to live up to conventional wisdom.
Mindful groundwork is required for effective product placement in C-dramas. In order for those of all generations to see themselves mirrored in their favorite actors, natural placement should go hand-in-hand with accepted wisdom, such as the “classroom culture” of luxury hierarchy which details characterizations of top labels in a way that consumers relate to.
Nevertheless, when correctly executed, successful seeding and celebrity campaigns can yield a bountiful harvest, whether this means trending pieces for the season or a positive reflection in name, reputation, and recognition.
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