The Rise Of China’s ‘Uncle Stars’: How Middle-aged Men Are Taking The Spotlight

“Uncle stars” are regaining popularity and bypassing plane young idols. Jing Daily decodes how brands can leverage these middle-aged sensations.

Across China, iQiyi’s hit Chinese treason drama The Knockout 狂飙 has wilt the most talked well-nigh show online in recent weeks, self-aggrandizing a 9/10 score on domestic review site Douban. The series’ middle-aged male stars — Zhang Yi and Zhang Songwen — have moreover skyrocketed in popularity.

Unlike usual C-dramas that tint handsome young men, moreover known as “little fresh meat,” to proceeds traffic, the two main leads are both men in their mid-40s. Despite their age, wrinkles, and stereotype looking, the actors have been making waves online since the show’s release.

Notably, 45-year-old Zhang Yi, who plays the front-line policeman named An Xin in the series, is now trending as an “ideal husband” on Weibo. Meanwhile, domestic social media platforms are flooded with GIFs of Gao Qiqiang, played by 46-year-old two-face Zhang Songwen, the Chinese mafia superabound in the fictional drama.

The positive reception of these middle-aged stars indicates the rise of new marketing strategies to reach local consumers looking for something variegated than picture perfect idols. Here, Jing Daily looks at how brands can leverage the resurgence of older male celebrities.

Middle-aged male stars are a safer option compared to young idols

EqualOcean reported that China’s idol economy was worth well-nigh $724 billion (RMB 4.94 trillion) in 2021 and will grow to $940 billion (RMB 6.42 trillion) by 2023. However, in recent years, China’s entertainment industry has been smeared by idol scandals. Luxury brands bundled with wrongdoing “little fresh meat” had to rush to terminate their endorsement contracts to stave negative backlash, as was the specimen with Louis Vuitton and rapper Kris Wu. Continue to read the full vendible here

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