Douyin anchor’s ‘vulgar’ YSL beauty livestream a cautionary tale for brands this Singles’ Day

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What Happened: On October 27, top Douyin anchor Crazy Little Brother Yang’s livestream apprentice Traffic Yellow (红绿灯的黄) was accused of being vulgar and indecent for her disheveled hair and contorted facial expressions when she promoted YSL beauty products during her show. 

Many netizens posted screenshots of her under YSL’s official Weibo account, decrying the livestreamer for selling the luxury brands’ foundation cushion, priced at $93 (680 RMB), like a cheap ‘9.9 RMB free shipping’ item. 

Weibo user Wuwosuoxin (@无我所心) wrote: “Crazy Little Brother Yang’s [livestreaming image] really cheapens the brand – I will never buy it again.”

In response to the controversy, the young anchor apologized: “My approach to the live broadcast room was just to make everyone laugh. I’m sorry for delivering a bad viewing experience. Everyone should consume rationally and compare [products] across multiple platforms. I’m too low-level. I’m sorry.” However, the apology did little to appease commentators.

On Weibo, related hashtags, such as ‘YSL customer service respond to Little Brother Yang’s apprentice vulgar behavior’ has gained more than 560 million views. The French brand customer service expressed that relevant department will look into the issue.

Douyin’s top anchor Crazy Little Brother Yang’s apprentice “Traffic Yellow 红绿灯的黄” selling YSL cushion. Image: Douyin screenshot

The Jing Take: Some netizens believe that Crazy Little Brother Yang and his apprentice’s light-hearted approach didn’t fit YSL’s brand image, and instead lowered it.

For this Singles’ Day (Double 11) shopping festival, YSL collaborated with multiple channels and live broadcast rooms to promote sales across its key beauty products — lipstick and foundation cushion. As well as Crazy Little Brother Yang the brand engaged Douyin’s Qi’er and Taobao’s Li Jiaqi (Lipstick King) and Lin Yilun.

Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, is proving to be a powerful gateway to domestic shoppers. Many premium brands’ beauty arms are leveraging the platform to diversify their channels and boost sales. However, businesses easily fall into the ‘traffic’ honey trap when exploring these new apps. 

Although mega content creators with over 100 million followers may be highly attractive, brands need to do their due diligence to understand whether the live broadcast room’s price point and content align with that of the brand and, in this case, how a product would be presented. 

When looking at Crazy Little Brother Yang’s channel, the ‘funny bumpkin’ personality adopted by his whole anchor team is clear, and would be apparent to luxury brands.

Dong Jie’s livestreaming teasers on Xiaohongshu. Photo: Screenshots

Nonetheless, new anchors are on the rise, and diversifying. Two popular newcomers are Zhang Xiaohui and Dong Jie. The former has only hosted two live broadcast rooms on Xiaohongshu. Her second livestreaming on October 15 generated over $13.6 million (100 million RMB) of sales, with an average per customer traction of $232 (1,695 RMB).

Unlike other anchors who rely on low-price discounts to attract traffic, Dong and Zhang’s livestreaming viewers and consumers are attracted by their sophisticated tastes and their backgrounds – both hail from well-off families. 

Although these up-and-coming live streamers don’t command massive followings, luxury brands like YSL would be well advised to prioritize image alignment over quick sales to preserve their exclusive aura.

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.


Beauty, Consumer Insights, Market Analysis