Chow Joins Other Luxury Brand Ambassadors Like Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Li Bingbing
Concerned about slower growth in mainland China this year, major brands continue to pull out all the stops to stand out in a crowded yet critical luxury market. This week, Hugo Boss — which recently held a high-tech and much-hyped 3D runway show in Beijing — made its latest move to attract Chinese consumers by signing Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-Fat as its first-ever Asian brand ambassador. Chow will be the face of the A/W 2012 formal and casual menswear lines, featured in ad campaigns mostly targeting China’s middle-aged shopper.
Its large-scale Beijing runway show and Chow Yun-Fat-led campaign is all part of an ambitious China expansion plan for Hugo Boss. The brand recently announced plans to open 60 new stores in the country over the next three years, up from 86 locations. As Hugo Boss Chief Executive Claus-Dietrich Lahrs said this May, the brand understands that the days of 30 percent annual growth in China may be fading as cities become more saturated and consumers slow down their pace of consumption. Said Lahrs, “Some brands will face the wake-up call that Chinese growth is not never-ending…But we have operated in some of the toughest markets and have grown before.”
Though local celebrity spokespeople were a rarity in China just a decade ago, Hugo Boss is joining brands like Hublot (which signed Jet Li as its first Asian brand ambassador in 2010), Maurice Lacroix (Dicky Cheung Wai Kin), Cadillac (Karen Mok), TAG Heuer (Chen Daoming), Longchamp (Gao Yuanyuan), Gucci (Li Bingbing), Qeelin (Maggie Cheung) and Johnnie Walker (Chen Kun) in enlisting a face well-known by Chinese consumers. Though foreign celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Nicolas Cage, Kobe Bryant and others remain highly visible on advertisements and even in in-store appearances in Shanghai or Beijing, major luxury brands now consider a local brand ambassador a “must.”