SK-II skin care advert goes viral

Published: 11-Apr-2016

Ad that sheds light on concept of 'leftover women' is online hit

A new advert from Chinese skin care brand SK-II has gone viral. The 4min documentary-style clip, titled The Marriage Market Takeover shares the experience of a group of women in China.

All of the women are aged over 27 and are single. In China, unmarried women in their mid to late twenties are known as 'sheng nu', which translates as 'leftover women'. The women all share how this term makes them feel and how they feel pressured by their families to settle down. One woman said: “In Chinese culture, respecting your parents is the most important quality, and not getting married is like the biggest sign of disrespect.”

The women’s families are also shown sharing how they feel about their daughters' single status. One father said: “She’s just average-looking, not too pretty. That’s why she is leftover.”

The clip ends at the Shanghai Marriage Market – where Chinese parents meet to match-make their children, often using posters to advertise their daughters for marriage.

Instead of the usual adverts, the documentary displays the women’s photographs alongside their messages for their parents. One woman wrote: “As opposed to the term ‘leftover woman’, I have a great career and there is another term: ‘power woman.”

After seeing the messages, the women’s families are moved, with many vowing to change their attitudes towards their daughters. One mother says: “Leftover women are outstanding. The leftover men need to try harder.”

Since it was uploaded last week the clip has been watched more than 1.4 million times on Weibo and Douban. It has also been watched around 1.3 million times on YouTube.

The ad is part of SK-II’s #ChangeDestiny campaign. On it's website, the brand explains: “Destiny isn't a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice. So let go of what others want you to be. Change, is in all of us and the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” The brand is encouraging women to share their stories about breaking stereotypes. The ad ends with the message: “Don’t let pressure dictate your future”.

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