Western Influence on Chinese Advertisements


This is an advertisement for Estee Lauder’s whitening cream that was released in China. Estee Lauder is an American beauty product manufacturer that just recently released products and ad’s in China. Although this product is aimed at a Chinese audience, the model used is white. This is problematic because while both Chinese and American companies are starting to globalize, the white model is still the standard of beauty. This is being further perpetuated by  Western media’s influence on Chinese advertisements.
commodity and media

The first thing I noticed in this advertisement is the use of a white model. Not only is she white, she also has blonde hair and blue eyes. These features are stereotypical of ideal white beauty standards. By using a blonde hair, blue eyed, white model in china, Estee Lauder is trying to show that if Chinese women use their product they will be closer to attaining this white standard of beauty. However, the product is trying to sell a moisturizer that whitens the skin tone. The product itself is called “Cyberwhite.” This lightening of the skin tone is a Chinese beauty standard, not an American one. Estee Lauder is still trying to profit from the Chinese market, while continuing to keep an American beauty standard.

American beauty product and Chinese market : issues raised?


This isn’t an isolated incident, Estee Lauder released a number of these ads featuring a white, blonde hair, blue eyed model while selling a skin whitening product. In both these ads, the background colors are white and blue. This gives the add a calming, refreshing effect. Blue is often connected to the sky and the sea, giving this ad an aspect of a natural state. This paired with the American model can be interpreted as Western beauty standards as being the natural ideal of beauty. Advertising this way to Chinese consumers encourages them to buy products in order to attempt to obtain this “natural beauty standard”

In both advertisements, the model hand is in a very similar position. Her left hand is placed on the side of her face near her chin, while her fingers rest behind or on her ear. By having the model, place her hand on the side of her face, she is framing her face and drawing more attention to her face. She invites the consumer to look at her and she appears to be looking back. This model-consumer connection makes the model appear more human and more attainable. This encourages the sale of the product. Even though both models have blue eyes, blonde hair and impeccable bone structure, they also appear human. They are not completely unattainable, so if you buy this product you can attain this standard of beauty as well!

These advertisements also display both Chinese and English writing, (important and explain) this demonstrates the globalization of the beauty market. Although there is a hybridity of Chinese and American cultures on these advertisements, Estee Lauder’s choice to use a blue-eye, blonde-haired white model proves that the Western beauty standard is still dominant and influential transnationally.

denotation/connotation that could be organized in terms of: western model, cosmetic product, image/textual incorporation, and potential relationship between American commodity and Chinese consumers