A highly-anticipated celebrity wedding ceremony in Vienna, Austria, took China’s social media by storm at the end of October. Luxury brands like Chloé, Roger Vivier and Ermenegildo Zegna, plus destination marketing agency Vienna Tourism Board, which sponsored the newlyweds, received great social media exposure. The buzz indicated how celebrity weddings are — after a bit of a backlash — again becoming a marketing window for brands in China.
The bride Tiffany Tang Yan (唐嫣) is a well-known actress in China who has starred in a number of popular TV series like My Sunshine and Diamond Lover. The groom Luo Jin (罗晋) is also a famous actor and worked with Tang in many TV series before. Ever since they became a couple, there was speculation on when and where they would hold their wedding ceremony.
On October 28, Luo and Tang’s wedding ceremony took place at Vienna’s Schloss Belvedere. It immediately became the top trending topic (#晋嫣#) on China’s social media platform Weibo, viewed by 2.05 billion users and commented on more than 386,000 times.
Social media viewership of the wedding was not only effective for luxury brands, but also for Vienna tourism
The Vienna Tourism Board, who was the venue sponsor of the ceremony, wrote on Weibo that it hoped the event could attract more Chinese tourists to visit the city. The destination marketing agency noted the city has already been highly popular among Chinese tourists to Europe. Luo and Tang’s wedding could help to emphasize Vienna’s landmarks and rich cultural resources and show people why it was an ideal place to host a wedding.
As a matter of fact, China’s interest in Austria overall has been booming for a while. In the first seven month of the year, 524,000 Chinese travelers visited the country, representing an increase of 8.2 percent from the same period in 2017, according to state media Xinhua News Agency. Statistics from the Austrian National Tourist Office also showed the number of visitors to Austria grew 23 percent year-on-year in 2017. These people effectively boosted revenues at local hotels, restaurants, and all forms of entertainment in Austria.
Luxury brands that placed products at the wedding ceremony were also well-prepared to ride the swell of publicity.
In a video on Weibo, French luxury powerhouse Chloé showed Chinese consumers how Natacha Ramsay-Levi worked with Tang to make the dreamy dress that she wanted. All six of the company’s posts generated online interaction that was much higher than that of Chloé’s average level.
An overall positive feedback for the luxury brand campaigns associated with Tang and Luo’s wedding seems to show that product placement in China has made a comeback, and this should transfer to destination marketers as well. Two earlier grand weddings by China’s power couples, Yang Mi and Liu Kaiwei (in 2014), Huang Xiaoming and Angelababy (2015), also featured luxury product placement, but did not win much love from consumers.
Yang and Liu’s wedding took place in Bali and featured brands like Swarovski and Bvlgari Hotel. It was criticized for being too commercial and not private and warm enough. Huang and Angelababy’s was named by China’s state media People’s Daily as a bad example of conspicuous consumption. The latest wedding, in comparison, was low-key and less commercial, only working with brands that Tang had an existing partnership with.