The top two July stars on the R3 Celebrity Index, a monthly snapshot of China's most influential celebrities on social media platforms, are both cast members from Chinese TV show Go Go Squid (based on the novel Stewed Squid with Honey): Yang Zi and Li Xian.

The ranking of the 20 top celebrity influencers in R3’s Celebrity Index is calculated by using data from Weibo, Toutiao, Baidu, and WeChat.

Weibo assumes the most weight as fan engagement can be traced more easily (through statistics including forwards, comments, likes, replies to comments, and likes on comments), compared to the latter three platforms, which are based more around search behaviour.

The data from Weibo helps indicate the commercial value of each celebrity, especially from its Adorable sub-index where the number of fans buying virtual flowers to express their admiration for a certain celebrity is tracked. Each celebrity’s social influence on Weibo, measured by read counts of microblogs mentioning them and search volume generated, also adds to his or her appeal to marketers.

Lead actress Yang Zi for Go Go Squid, a romantic sitcom featuring a love story between a singer and a engineer/gamer, is the global spokesperson for fashion brand Fossil and the ambassador for cosmetics label Benefit. Meanwhile, Li Xian, who plays the engineer/gamer character in the sitcom, has been associated with several lifestyle brands including Puma, Airbnb, and Avène.

The third name on July’s list by R3 is yet another actor, Jonny Bai, who first came to prominence in 2018 via the web series Guardian and has appeared in campaigns for Tiffany, Cartier, and Lancôme.

According to studies on endorsement effectiveness (for more, read The Dual Entertainment Theory in Celebrity Endorsements: The Role of Celebrity Worship and Profession) in the Journal of Advertising Research), celebrities from more glamorous professions, such as acting, are perceived differently from celebrities from performance-oriented professions, such as sports.

To some extent, the effect of celebrity fantasy was found to be significant when the celebrity was an actor, and less so in cases where the celebrity was a sportsperson.

Sourced from Jing Daily and R3; additional content by WARC Staff