Luxury goods have taken a starring role in some recent Chinese pop culture hits.
The new Chinese blockbuster film Tiny Times set an opening-day record for 2D film with $50 million, reports Brand Channel. A sequel plus two more films are in the works. What makes the franchise so successful is not just its depiction of glamorous Shanghai life, its dramatic plot, or its flirty intrigues. Most of the attention for Tiny Times – and films like it – comes from heavy-handed brand placement. The characters are awash with clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Cheeky viewers have dubbed the Tiny Times series of books, and now the subsequent movie, as “The Luxury Good Guides.” Even fans have freeze-framed the film and found eight on-screen appearances for Louis Vuitton, ten for Gucci, and twelve for Dior. It’s Christian Louboutin that seems to be the darling of the creative team, however – that label appears 21 times.
Luxury goods take on almost epic significance in the franchise: Louis Vuitton “Alma” purses, Hermes “Avalon” blankets, and Alexander McQueen skull handle umbrellas all have their significance. While a skeptical public may see the intense focus on materialism as a social commentary of the times, series creator Guo Jingming – himself just thirty years old – is not bashing consumption. He says Tiny Times is all about the “power of friendship” through the “compromises and struggles in a materialistic world.”
Another hit Chinese film this year, Finding Mr. Right, is just as liberal in its use of brands. This flick, however, challenges the idea that materialism can replace love and affection. The protagonist is so convinced that it can’t that she holds a tag sale for her luxury bags, anxious to get rid of the baggage of having too much stuff.
Whether the Chinese film industry can shift the morality of the “me generation” remains to be seen. But it sure has their attention with all those pretty purses.