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Opportunity China: Celebrity Power

05 August 2016

Boxes of Weet-Bix, the staple of many an Australian childhood, has developed a recent cult following in China with a box currently retailing at $50AUD. This almost overnight success story can be largely attributed to inadvertent celebratory endorsement on the Chinese TV drama Ode to Joy.

In a key scene of the show, the main character picks two Weet-Bix from a 1.4kg box and proceeds to snack on them, with this seemingly innocent act sparking huge demand for this iconic Australian product.

“Of the 42 countries to which we export Weet-Bix, China is our largest export market. We are excited to see more Chinese people choosing Australia’s most loved and trusted cereal for their daily breakfast” said Todd Saunders, general manager of Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing.

However, this is not the only Australian product to have received a helping hand from inadvertent endorsement, with a tube of Blackmores Vitamin E cream falling out of Chinese celebrity Fan Bingbing’s handbag while being photographed at an event – sparking a huge spike in sales.

As highlighted by Livia Wang of Assess China, celebratory endorsements are an underutilized strategy of Australian companies and could become a key part of their China entry strategy. “It can be quite expensive to pay for a product to be endorsed, but the situation could be a celebrity  featuring your product on (social media site) Weibo, or daigous (online sellers) recommending some of the products, they become very popular and can be sold for a much, much higher price,” she highlighted.