When it comes to targeting millennial and Gen Z consumers, luxury brands in China often use young celebrities and influencers who are peers of the target demographic. However, fashion magazine Marie Claire China‘s recent campaign aims to demonstrate the power of more mature, silver generation influencers.
Over the weekend, a fire was ignited on China’s social media by a WeChat post from Marie Claire published on August 10. The article introduces eight elder socialites with Chinese heritage, who are featured in the magazine’s upcoming September issue. In less than 72 hours since its release, the post has exceeded 600,000 views, according to Marie Claire China, and been liked by nearly 5,000 readers – an extraordinary record set for the Chinese fashion magazine publishers.
The eight personalities – whose average age is over 80 years old – were chosen due to lifetime achievements in their respective fields. Each of them, dressed in an array of luxury fashion labels including Bvlgari (the campaign’s official partner), Christian Dior, Chanel, and Celine, have made rare public appearances to discuss their personal stories.
The editorial concept has stirred up a highly positive response on the online Chinese community. Many readers agree that these influencers are role models to today’s youth, and that the stars’ ageless beauty, style, and independent spirit should inspire future generations.
One Weibo user “Hongcai sister” wrote, “Every influencer is so fabulous. Besides their achievements, all of them are so elegant and confident at their age. I hope I will be like them when I am older.”
“A must-buy issue. Marie Claire is awesome,” said fellow user “ElevenAnn”, endorsing the magazine’s bold move to revamp its offerings for an ever-demanding millennial audience in China.
Readers have also compared the eight socialites to some of the hottest younger Chinese actresses, including Angelababy (brand ambassador of Dior), Yang Mi (brand ambassador of Michael Kors) and Ni Ni (brand ambassador of Gucci), reflecting on the connection between youth and beauty.
One WeChat user “pai” said, “Though I may be attracted to youthful looks and beautiful faces for a moment, these won’t last long. Sometimes, fashion is about time. Only people who have experienced enough can show what fashion is really about.”
In a country where female independence and feminist values are becoming increasingly celebrated, the success of Marie Claire China’s influencer marketing campaign shows an alternative way of targeting a broader female audience – an important lesson for all fashion and luxury marketers.
Here are the eight socialites and highlights of their achievements:
Tsai Chin (周采芹), born in 1933, Chin is a Chinese British actress. She is best known for her role as Auntie Lindo in the film The Joy Luck Club. Chin is the daughter of the legendary Peking opera actor Zhou Xinfang and Shanghai socialite Lilian Qiu.
Rebecca Pan (潘迪华), born in 1930 in Shanghai, Pan is a singer and actress in Hong Kong. She is the nominee of Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
Lisa Lu(卢燕), born in 1927 in Beijing, Lu is a Chinese-born American actress and singer. She won the Golden Horse Awards three times in the 1970s.
Zheng Xiaoying(郑小瑛), born in 1929 in Shanghai, Xiaoying is China’s first female conductor.
Wu Yanshu(吴彦姝), born in 1938 in Taiyuan, Yanshu is a Chinese actress, nominated for the Golden Horse Award for Besting Supporting Actress.
Chen Ailian(陈爱莲), born in 1939 in Shanghai, Ailian is a high-profile Chinese dancer.
Yue-Sai Kan(靳羽西), born in 1949 in Guilin, Kan is an Emmy-winning television host and a successful beauty entrepreneur in China.
Jane Hsiang, born in 1940 in Germany, Hsiang is a well-known celebrity stylist who has dressed stars including Audrey Hepburn.