Jay Chou’s La Mer appointment signals bold shift in celebrity endorsements

    Jay Chou’s appointment as La Mer’s first male ambassador signals a shift in luxury brand endorsements towards “uncle stars” and away from “little fresh meat.”
    Image: La Mer
      Published   in Beauty

    What happened

    Jay Chou was recently announced as the first-ever male ambassador for luxury skincare label La Mer. 

    In a video for the official announcement, Jay Chou is seen holding La Mer’s signature cream, citing that the brand, like his songs, is “full of essence, making youth sing like a song, continuously playing.”

    “Jay Chou brings an incredible dynamic energy to La Mer. With his highly active career and a youthful approach to skincare, we are excited that our partnership with Jay will help to inspire a new generation to embrace the power of self-care and confidence,” La Mer brand president Sandra Main told Women’s Wear Daily at the time of the announcement.

    The Jing Take

    As La Mer’s newest celebrity ambassador, Chou joins the ranks of South Korean actress Gianna Jun and Malaysian Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh. What makes this collaboration especially notable is Chou’s gender and age.

    In China, the rise of male celebrities in their mid-40s, sometimes referred to as “uncle stars,” is emerging as a surprisingly lucrative, if not safer, alternative for brands seeking to connect with local consumers.

    In recent years, idol scandals have tarnished China’s entertainment sector. Louis Vuitton is one example of a luxury brand that had to discontinue its association with now-jailed idol Kris Wu after he was found guilty of crimes including sexual assault.

    As a result, more brands are working with this unlikely group of ambassadors due to the unpredictability of “traffic stars,” who rely mostly on Asia’s fan economy to boost sales for the products they endorse. The 48-year-old movie actor Huang Bo became a Shiseido ambassador in February 2023.

    While Chou is a superstar in his own right, his appointment as La Mer’s latest ambassador stands out in contrast to the prominence of China’s “little fresh meat” in recent decades. In 2023, China insights firm EqualOcean reported that China’s idol economy would grow to 940 billion RMB (6.42 trillion RMB) in that year.

    Meanwhile, American skincare brand La Mer recently surpassed Nars in China beauty rankings, according to Jing Daily’s latest report with WeArisma. The label saw its popularity skyrocket thanks to its March 2024 “beyond the surface” campaign featuring Gianna Jun, directed by Michel and Olivier Gondry.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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