Iconic Ads: Sk-II – Marriage Market Takeover
SK-II’s new film inspires single Chinese women to start a conversation with parents about marriage pressure
Women in China were expected to marry at the age of 25, according to custom. As a result of China’s one-child policy, there were around 20 million more males than women under the age of 30. Many “would-be” daughters would be aborted due to the preference for boys. Despite the January 2016 introduction of the two-child policy, finding a match is much more difficult in light of all of this. In addition, as the nation became more urbanised and the labour market became increasingly competitive, many women began prioritising their jobs above marriage.
In light of China’s ageing population, the Chinese government was concerned about this change in women’s interests and deemed these women “leftover” or “sheng nu,” and unappealing to future spouses, because of their careers. There were many social ramifications, including parental and family disappointment, societal humiliation, and a dread of being alone.
In fact, Chinese women were under a lot of pressure from society to get married. This pressure is so strong that during Chinese New Year, companies pop up that let single women and men hire a boyfriend or girlfriend to trick and appease their families.
This moving film, as a part of the #changedestiny campaign for P & G’s Japanese luxury skincare brand, SK-II, was developed by Sophia Lindholm and Karina Ullensvang at Swedish advertising agency Forsman & Bodenfors, and directed by Floyd Russ. By advocating for women’s self-determination, the organization hoped to increase its appeal to females.
The SK-II commercial highlighted the injustices faced by these women by showcasing strong female characters who stood up for their own rights. Many of the SK-female II’s target customers felt strongly that the government’s mocking of them would be better served by advertising that was upbeat and uplifting.
It was a departure from SK II’s past campaigns, which relied heavily on celebrity endorsements, and it sent a strong statement to the public. Many young Chinese women could identify with the new brand ambassadors since they had similar experiences. SK-target II’s customers believed that the brand understood them because of its emotional promotion. The brand supported China’s “leftover” women in their independence by showing real emotion and honesty instead of a pre-written script. This was a great start toward encouraging them to accept single life at 25 and beyond.
When the “Marriage Market Takeover” video was uploaded, in 2 days it received over 250,000 views on YouTube and 100,000 page views on WeChat. In only one year, the number of new users increased by about 100%, while revenues more than doubled.