Tuesday, June 21, 2016

China’s Greatest Weapon: Chinese Consumers

The case of Lancôme and the politicization of China’s vast market. 

By Kerry Brown

THE DIPLOMAT - June 13, 2016

If Denise Ho wasn’t a high profile figure beyond the fans of Cantopop outside of Hong Kong before, the claimed antics of one of the companies that sponsors events she is associated with over the last few weeks have ensured that she now has global profile. French cosmetics giant Lancôme reportedly scrapped a promotional event at which she was due to sing in the city this month due to her clearly stated support for both the Occupy Central movement of two years ago, and a meeting she held with the Dalai Lama.
Politicians and celebrities (when the latter are not trying to morph into the former) always have a tetchy relationship with each other. In the halcyon days of British New Labour two decades ago, the then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, capitalizing on his photogenic youth and popularity, got involved with an ill-advised “Cool Britannia” fad. A number of receptions  which pitched image-obsessed leaders against unruly, often ungrateful and unpredictable pop stars and actresses followed,  culminating however in the iconic scene of the then-deputy prime minister, John Prescott, having a bowl of ice water dumped over his head by one of the over-exuberant “golden youth” singers he was trying to court. After that point, the two groups happily retreated to their own realms – the politicians largely did the politics, and celebrities got on with creating and entertaining. Modern societies, after all, should have plenty of space for both groups.