Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chopard, Cartier, Mercedes-Benz, Adidas, Moët & Chandon, and L’Oreal knew what they were doing when they hired actress Fan Bingbing (范冰冰) as their celebrity brand ambassador: a report last month by online retail giant Alibaba’s Taobao revealed that the Iron Man 3 star has generated US$74 million (RMB450 million) in e-commerce revenue.
Showing that “star effect” is actually quantifiable, the e-tailer released its list of the most lucrative brand ambassadors generating income for the site in 2013. According to the report, Fan easily topped the charts. The ranking was calculated by taking into account the name keyword searches that brought in the most revenue, along with the total sales revenue of each brand with a celebrity ambassador, according to Taobao. Unsurprisingly, her largest influence was in the areas of women’s dresses, handbags, high heels, and sunglasses.
According to a Chinese-language report on Sina, each and every move made by Fan is closely watched by Taobao shop owners, who make sure to capitalize on her numerous public appearances. As with any celebrity-spurred Taobao trend, this takes the form of both sales of genuine designer goods and inexpensive imitations.
The ranking is unsurprising, considering the fact that a growing number of luxury brands have signed the actress as her fame has continued to skyrocket. She has served as L’Oreal’s brand ambassador for three years, and was formally announced as Louis Vuitton’s at the end of 2012. At the 2013 Oscars in February, she wore pink sapphire, rubellite and diamond earrings, rings, and a bracelet by Chopard, which signed her as an official brand ambassador in May. She represented the brand along with Louis Vuitton at Cannes Film Festival, and was also signed as Moët & Chandon’s first Asian brand ambassador in April.
Fan Bingbing is known for her bold and daring fashion choices, such as her dramatic red crane gown designed by Christopher Bu worn at Cannes in 2011, or the fuschia Marchesa creation she wore to this year’s Oscars. “She’s more of a risk-taker,” said Catherine Kallon, founder of the U.K.-based blog Red Carpet Fashion Awards, in a Hollywood Reporter article earlier this year.
In addition to Fan, the top male celebrity generating revenue was not a movie star, but a Chinese beauty expert who goes by the name Niu Er (牛尔), the most-searched female star was Chinese actress Betty Sun (孙俪), and the most-searched male star was Taiwanese actor Show Luo (罗志祥).