“Miss Puff”: Content’s Sexy Foothold in China
China’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw is sexy, doe-eyed and smart enough to dig a guy who drives a Chevrolet Cruze.
“Miss Puff,” an animated online series about a tech-happy single woman in Beijing, is co-produced by Chevrolet-maker GM and the video website Youku. As of July the first episodes had attracted 20 million views, according to one media-watching China blog, ChinaSmack.
The Wall Street Journal reports that government restrictions are driving young Chinese away from television and toward web video, “and advertisers and Western studios are right there with them.” Brands are not only buying ads but also helping to produce their own Chinese programming, and Miss Puff as Exhibit A.
The series illustrates two global trends: Online video channels are producing their own original content (Youku is China’s answer to YouTube, which is banned there; YouTube has recently announced plans to produce 100 channels of its own content) and so are brands. It’s a match made in heaven.
Interestingly, the Miss Puff series was born as a short produced for a Youku’s “11 Degrees New Media Film Project,” which was also a partnership with GM. The short was the most widely viewed (and widely tweeted) in the project, and now Youku plans over 100 episodes over eight seasons. Such is the power of online contests and trials to guide brands on where to make their big investments.
According to ChinaSmack, Miss Puff has also become something a Youku mascot, appearing in many Youku commercials. One can imagine her playing a similar role in Chevrolet spots as well.
Like Sex and the City, “Miss Puff” aims squarely at the Yuppie set—the folks who can handily afford their own cars, so it positions GM beautifully in a fast-growing market. Of course, this might not be the kind of thing GM might not want to associate with in the US. My Mandarin is a bit rusty, but from reviewing a few episodes, “Miss Puff” combines hip cartooning and music with liberal doses of drinking, smoking, car canoodling, and webcam stripping. But you gotta know your market…
Richard Sine writes about business, personal finance and health for magazines and content marketers. He writes regularly for Men’s Health magazine and for brands such as Fidelity Investments, UPS and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.