China says celebrities must use the products they endorse

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Consumer protection, Social media

China says celebrities must use the products they endorse
Proposed revisions to China’s Advertising Law will include a requirement that means celebrities must use the products before putting their endorsement to them.

The country has seen a big rise in the popularity of endorsements for a large range of consumer goods, but probably one of the biggest areas for endorsements is in cosmetics and personal care products.

But alongside this big rise, there has also been speculation over the validity of the endorsements, with consumers widely questioning whether or not the products are being used by the celebrities.

Amendments to the Advertising law

The amendments to Advertising Law concentrate on addressing this issue and are due to be submitted to the legislature at the People’s Congress on August 25th​, according to a report in the government approved newspaper China Daily.

The proposed amendments state that the endorser’s recommendation for the product must be based on fact, which means he or she must test out and regularly use the product before making the commercial, or face legal responsibilities.

Likewise, the amendments also stipulate that if the celebrity endorses a product that is proven to be faulty or has spurious claims, then the celebrities fee can be confiscated in full by the authorities.

Men endorsing sanitary towels?

One particular type of endorsement that could be ended by the new amendments is future advertisement using the endorsement of male celebrities for products targeted at females.

The social media community in China reacted to the news with humour, after several posts pointed to the fact that male celebrity Jiro Wang had endorsed sanitary towels in a campaign for the Freemore brand back in 2013.

If the new Advertising Law is passed by the People’s Congress, this will likely spell the end of male celebrities putting their name and image to products that are targeted at females.

Celebrities endorsements under the microscope

The amendments are in addition to the Revised Consumer Rights Protection Law, which was introduced in March of this year and making brand ambassadors liable for claims made by any product.

The update is already said to have had an impact on brands and their celebrity partners in the country, with recent celebrity slip-ups highlighting the potential pitfalls of endorsement under the revised rules.

With brands needing to be aware of this shift in legal demands, it remains to be seen whether the new law will dissuade celebrities from endorsing beauty products.

Fan Bingbing

Those slip ups have included Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, a brand ambassador for L’Oreal’s hair care range, who came under fire from social media users earlier in the year for posting a photo of herself with dishevelled hair, looking perhaps to go on to endorse the brand’s products with a follow-up ‘after’ snap.

Unimpressed consumers were quick to point out if the actress had been using the brand’s products regularly as a brand ambassador might be expected to, a ‘bad hair day’ should not be a problem, unless the products were inadequate. Fan withdrew the photo.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, East Asia, China

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