Only In China: Paper Gucci Insert Causes Vogue-Buying Frenzy

Folders Showing Up On Taobao For 4x Original Price, At Some Stores For 10x

The Gucci folder in question

The Gucci folder in question

This week, one of the more “only in China” stories we’ve noticed is a run on the August issue of Vogue China, owing not to the popularity of its cover model Ming Xi or its actual content, but because of the free Gucci-branded paper folder packaged along with the magazine. While it’s not unusual for magazines to include branded inserts in China, Gucci is the most visible–and unattainable–for the average reader of Vogue China. This has led to a run on the issue, with some enterprising young people buying every issue they can find and putting them up for sale on the Chinese e-commerce site Taobao.

Already, the issue is selling for around four times its original price of 20 yuan (US$3) on Taobao, and newsstands around the country have been wiped clean. While this is great news for Vogue China, the frenzy for this cheap paper folder has provoked some of China’s most high-profile commentators to weigh in on the issue. On Sina Weibo this week, the popular and influential iLook publisher and Chinese media figure, Hong Huang tweeted, “Vogue‘s promotion is quite strategic. But it’s a bit silly on the part of Gucci. To give it away in a 20 yuan magazine.” iFeng also notes widespread disdain for the promotion among other “industry professionals” along the same lines of what Hong said, but adds that the dustup just seems to be fueling the frenzy even further.

But it’s not just entrepreneurial Taobao users who are looking to profit. Newsstand owners in Beijing have, in some cases, raised the price for the issue from 20 yuan to 50 yuan, with some even kicking the price up to 200 yuan (US$31) for issues that include the more popular dark brown folder. Still, for those whose lust for Gucci and other international luxury brands disproportionally corresponds to the size of their bank account, 200 yuan for a Gucci product is a steal — even if it is just a cheap paper folder.

But then again, as a quick peek at Weibo will tell you, one man’s “cheap paper folder” is another man’s “iPad case.”

Smart marketing tool? Or brand dilution?

Smart marketing tool? Or brand dilution? (Image: iFeng)



Fashion, Market Analysis