Advertising and Marketing

China is obsessed with breasts


It's summer, and all the magazines are full of well endowed women. This image of actress Gong Li at Cannes was published in numerous magazines across the nation. The Beijing Youth Weekly outdid themselves, reproducing the image across a full tabloid-size page (pictured left, click on the image to enlarge).

Easy for Gong Li, but fashion is not easy on those who don't have the goods: appealling to Chinese women's chest anxieties has become big business in the last few years. Everyday, women are bombarded with advertisements in newspapers and bus shelters encouraging them to try plastic surgery, breast 'enhancing' lotions, firming-up massages, and a variety of other treatments some of which are about as likely to work as snake-oil.

One company is determined to position itself as the bra that can stop the breast anxiety. Gracewell (Tingmei) is a Beijing-based underwear manufacturer with a large range of 'beauty' bras. A few months ago the company ran a March 8 campaign telling women not to buy a bra on International Women's Day (on Danwei here.

On June 10, Gracewell placed two large ads in the Beijing Daily Messenger. This is the first. The headline is:

Oh my God! Her chest drooped 8cm in the last 5 years!


Under the headline, there is subtitle that reads: Her chest line went up by 6cm after using Gracewell "raising shape" type bra. The rest of the copy is a testimony from a Ms Wang, whose breast anxiety was cured by Gracewell's bra.

The second ad appeals to hopes, rather than fears with this headline:

Oh my God! I can't believe my chest can be so beautiful!


This ad features a different bra model and testimony from a different bra user.


Last week's Shopping Guide / Life Style magazine (jingpin gouwu) also published a full page ad for Gracewell, showing four different breast problems, all of which can of course be solved or ameliorated with Gracewell bras. The headline of this ad is

What model should I wear to "beautify the shape?

Click on the image to the left to enlarge.

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives