Following the conclusion of Sisters Who Make Waves (乘风破浪的姐姐) Season 3, Call Me By Fire (披荆斩棘的哥哥) Season 2 was released to hungry fans. Broadcasted on August 19, the blockbuster show features 32 male contestants who are all in the entertainment industry. Similar to the casting of Sisters Who Make Waves, the featured talents include actors and musicians who are mostly in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s.
As of August 23, the hashtag #CallMeByFire drove 12.7 billion views and 9.1 million discussions on Weibo, double the online traffic compared to Season 1. From Taiwaness actor, singer, and film director Alec Su You-peng, best known for being a member of boyband Little Tiger in the 1990s, to popular singers like Richie Jen and Will Pan, the participants resonated greatly with millennials who followed these stars in their teenage years.
This nostalgia presents brands with an opportunity to collaborate with the contestants, a strategy that has been tested by Sisters Who Make Waves Season 3. Beauty labels such as Fresh and First Aid Beauty partnered with the show’s most popular contestant, Cyndi Wang, for branded campaigns, which drove significant traffic to their social channels. Moreover, Valentino created a landmark moment in China for Pink PP, the hue of its fall 2022 collection, by dressing the contestants for the season finale earlier this month.
Given the huge exposure that comes from dressing celebrities, discerning brands are likely considering collaborating with them. Like Sisters Who Make Waves, Call Me By Fire is not only a competition of musical skill but also of popularity, determined by the person’s recognition, capability, and charisma. As the program updates the ranking of contestants according to their popularity, brands can sort out potential celebrities for partnerships.
However, luxury houses looking to capitalize on the trending program need to be aware that the followers of the mature male stars are more rational than those of “little fresh meat” idols. Though their performances spur plenty of online discussion, whether fans will be willing to spend money on these older male artists is another question.
So far, luxury names with a focus on menswear like Berluti have dressed celebrities on stage; however, they cannot expect immediate conversion like more accessible brands. Still, gaining exposure through the show is a positive start to wielding broader cultural influence in the Chinese market and diversifying their KOL lineup.