Advertising and Marketing

Boss Hou, infomercial host extraordinaire

Boss Hou (r) talks about luxury watches.
A few weeks ago, Danwei brought you an advertisement from Boss Hou, an excitable, enthusiastic gem and jewelry salesman whose infomercials have caught the attention of China's online population. Over the last three months, fans of the Boss, who call themselves "macaques" (猕猴, sounds like 迷侯), have made his videos online hits.

Over the weekend, The Beijing News printed a feature on Boss Hou (real name Hou Xingzu) and the strange popularity of novelty commercials. Hou, 28, has worked in infomercials in Taiwan for six years and has been quite successful at his job.

Here's TBN's assessment:

As for parodies by mainland netizens, it's unclear whether Boss Hou really does not understand or if he is just carefully avoiding the question; he always uses lines like "I thank everyone for their attention," in his answers. And lines like "I swear," "I am diligently operating a brand," drop off his lips just like in his programs. In addition, no matter how what the follow-up question, the topic always returns to promoting his products after just a few sentences. He abundantly demonstrates the language characteristics of "the most awesome advertiser."

And the interview:

The Beijing News: Did you know that in the mainland, there is fierce debate about you online, and there has been a BBS and fan club set up for "Macaques"?
Boss Hou: It was about half a month ago, when Netease and Sina invited me to do an interview, that I found out. I was caught somewhat unprepared when I learned that I had suddenly become so well-known. I never imagined that after a short three months working on the mainland, so many people would be supporting me.

I thank all of the "macaques" for their concern and support.

TBN: Many netizens say that your sales pitch on TV is a type of acting intended for comic effect. How do you evaluate your own unique sales method?
Hou: I swear that my exaggeration is no act. My more than six years of sales experience in Taiwan trained me to have confidence in the quality of my products. Now that I am showing off my products to everyone, I have sufficient self-confidence. This is where my style comes from. The top-grade positioning of our company's brands and the high quality of our merchandise has gained widespread approval among customers; that is why I can be so self-confident when I speak.

If I have led anyone to believe that this is exaggeration or arrogance, then I am deeply sorry. I will certainly accept instruction from critical voices.

TBN: Have the fierce debates online and the reports in the media had any effect on sales of your "Eight Hearts & Eight Arrows" and other products? Have you given any thought to the negative effects these methods might have, because people may be put off by them?
Hou: The company's sales have been staying quite good. I can only say that relying on the quality of our products and our after-sales service, I feel that this word-of-mouth publicity will be even more powerful. In addition, I want to say that time is the key to a person's heart. I am just an advertiser; everyone is so focused on my person that no matter whether the effect is positive or negative, it will ultimately rest on the quality of our merchandise.

TBN: Aren't you worried that too much attention will cause people to ignore the merchandise you are selling?
Hou: There's really no need to worry.

I will complete the work that is my duty. To let slip a bit of news, following Rosemund Kwan and Jeff Chang, we will immediately promote a line in cooperation with Ms. Michelle Reis. We want everyone to pay more attention to these stars and the products they endorse than they do to me.

TBN: Are you aware of the net celeb Sister Hibiscus? There are those who say that your road to popularity is very similar to hers; that is, your relatively unrestrained mode of expression, combined with circulation among netizens. What's your understanding of this?
Hou: I've heard of Sister Hibiscus, but I don't really know what sort of person she is, and I've never seen her. I think that when an individual may take a sudden leap to popularity, it definitely has to do with some personality characteristic that is different from other people. That Sister Hibiscus gained popular support is an example of this. Since you've brought it up, I will watch out for Sister Hibiscus's next move.

Here's an transcript of a chat that a New Express reporter had with a receptionist at Boss Hou's company:

Q: The advertisement said that each Eight Hearts and Arrows diamond is only 998 yuan. Is that true?
A: Yes.
Q: I want to buy 20 at once. Is that ok?
A: No. An individual can only purchase one at a time.
Q: But one is too few. It's not enough.
A: I can help you get three at the most.
Q: But your commercial said there are only 39 for sale. You won't try and trick me with one lower-quality ones once those 39 are sold out, will you?
A: No. We limit the quantity to 39 every time the commercial airs. If it were as you say, wouldn't we have gone under?
Q: Then give me a hand here. See if I can get 20 at one time.
A: No good. Three at the most each time. If you want to buy more, then you'll have to order more times.
A: That means, it'll work if I just call a few more times?
Q: You may, but while the shipping address can be the same, the name must be different. You could use the name of a friend.

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There are currently 2 Comments for Boss Hou, infomercial host extraordinaire.

Comments on Boss Hou, infomercial host extraordinaire

Hou is an extraordinary guy who doesn't care that critical voices at all.And I guess he creates a brand new way of advertising,which is buying those cheap midnight commercial time of satellite TVs in poor area in order to make you "enjoy" their commercial every moment from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.

Boss Hou's shows made me think of Yu Dan's preachings of Confucius's LunYu at CCTV. Many have said her alleged spiritual 'chicken' soup or Xinling Jitang as phony interpretation. Like Hou, Yu of course believes the rightness of everything she has said.

You may either take it or leave it, after all money is in your own pocket ;)

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