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Can Celebrity Appear in Commercials?
2006-05-09 13:16:18
It is no longer a secret that much of celebrities' income comes from shooting TV advertisements or acting as image ambassadors for commercial products.
However, recently, several disputes have arisen from the products some stars recommend, triggering a public distrust of celebrity commercials. Experts say stars should be very careful with their words when shooting commercials, otherwise they might find themselves losing the public's favor or even involved in legal cases.

Chinese people seem to love their celebrities. Chinese companies also love to spend big to have a star shoot their commercials. Even football superstar Ronaldo lends his gap-toothed smile to a spot for a Chinese brand of throat lozenge.

But people no longer believe in whatever their idols say now.

Earlier last year global giant P&G was put to court by a Chinese consumer because she said its product SK-II De-wrinkle Active has erosive effect to her skin. Hong Kong film star Carina Lau was sued along with P&G for recommending the product in a TV commercial.

Recently mainland actress Chen Xiaoyi also became the focus of attention because her commercial about a drinkable calcium supplement was banned by Beijing television.

Chen explained through her agent that she had drunk the supplement herself before agreeing to shoot the commercial. And that's also the attitude of many celebrities. Use it before you recommend it to others. Here's mainland singer Lin Yilun.

"Responsibility is the first thing celebrities should think about when they take the job."

Actress Liu Xiaoqing thinks the same.

"I've used the products for a long time before shooting the commercials. Another thing is don't recommend the products you don't know much about."

It looks like most of the stars know they should be careful when exerting their influence on the public. However, can we really expect them to be expert enough to tell if a product is good and should be recommended?

Market regulators say no. Beijing has pulled the plug on TV stars playing doctors or patients in TV commercials to promote health or cosmetic products. They can't even act as consumers.

Ou Shuruo, an official in charge of advertisement regulation from Beijing Industry and Commerce Bureau, further explains.

"TV stars cannot recommend products as patients or doctors, or consumers in commercials. They don't have to use the products before shooting the commercial, because they are not allowed to appear as consumers on TV."

That is to say, stars can only describe a product as an objective third person, but not as consumers, even if they use the product in real life.

It is probably not the fault of celebrities to be involved with fake products, but the outcome could be severe. Cases of huge fine or even imprisonment occurred in the US and Europe before. But China is yet to work out more specific regulations targeting celebrity's commercial behaviors.

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