Imagine waking up in the morning, going to the kitchen and your boyfriend Tom Hiddleton is making a healthy breakfast for you. “Pepper on top, right?”, he says with a caring look on his face, then he turns to grab a bottle of Centrum vitamins before he starts speaking Chinese “还有你的善存”, which translates as “Here is your Centrum”.
想象一下清早醒来走到厨房，你的男朋友Tom Hiddleton正在为你准备健康的早餐。“上面要撒点胡椒吗？”他问道，脸上满显关心，然后他转身拿起一瓶善存维他命，接着用中文说道：“还有你的善存”，译成英文则是“Here is your Centrum”。
The newest commercial for the famous vitamin brand is shot from viewer’s point of view in a vertical position which creates an intimate moment where it feels like Hiddleston is cooking for the viewer. The commercial created a buzz and turned out to be a complete success, as the users on social media responded positively and reposed it many times. Many users expressed their satisfaction in the comment section saying “I am buying Centrum and no one can stop me” or “I saw the ad last night and I dreamt me and Tom were together”. They sold a fan fantasy to Chinese women who often consider their idols to be their imaginary boyfriends or husbands.
Tom Hiddleston has a following of more than 650k on Weibo, where he initially posted the commercial which gained more than 2.5 million views. The caption said: “Here’s something special for you at breakfast time. Wishing all my friends in China a great start to their day!” It also offered you a direct like to the JD.com e-commerce store.
The ad obviously succeeded in its intended market in China as it received many praises online, but the West labeled it “creepy” and “weird”. It spiked many hilarious reactions on Twitter, leaving users wondering if Tom will also make them a delicious “Cesar salad” in case they buy Centrum vitamins. The actor was criticized and even called a “sell-out” by the Western media, but the “cringy” and “voyeuristic” aspect of the commercial is exactly what made it a success in its intended market.
The polarity of the two markets is clear with this commercial, as the marketers have undeniably hit the right note with the Chinese customers. The experts contribute many factors for the success of the Centrum commercial, whether it’s the growing trend around health in China or the use of celebrities and KOLs as a means to achieve success in advertising. The advertisers clearly made this ad for a very specific market, which they undoubtedly knew very well. Instead of making fun of the commercial, the West should take notes on how to explore new formats of marketing and push boundaries a bit further.