In China, more and more brands are leaning toward sponsoring animated holograms to replace real idols, the propaganda arm of China’s Communist Party (CCP), the Global Times, reported.
An unidentified “industry insider” told the state-run media on Sunday, Aug. 1, that virtual idols are cheaper and safer for a brand’s reputation.
The state spokesman considered that brand endorsements of celebrities carry “high legal and moral risks,” as companies cannot fully control the behavior of their sponsored persons at all times.
Instead, virtual idols only behave the way they are programmed, so there is no risk of the animation falling into any criminal behavior, as happened with Kris Wu, a Chinese-Canadian pop star arrested this week, after a Chinese social media influencer accused him of sexual offenses.
Wu lost at least ten sponsors since his arrest, including several Western brands such as Porsche and Lancome.
The Chinese regime has promoted virtual idols for years as an alternative to human pop stars.
In January, the Global Times estimated that hologram pop stars attracted as many as 300 million fans worldwide, fueling a million-dollar industry. This week, the state-run newspaper doubled down, claiming the industry is worth more than $500 million.
Virtual idols perform “concerts” that, before the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, (coronavirus) pandemic, could fill stadiums across Asia, Breitbart reported.
But these “virtual idols” are not only functional for big brands and advertisers, but also for the CCP, as they serve as indoctrination tools, especially for the young.
Holograms and virtual idols began gaining popularity in China in the second half of the 2010s. By 2017, they had attracted so many millions of fans that the CCP introduced a hologram pop star designed to promote Xi Jinping and communism.
Luo Tianyi’s animation was one of the most popular, so much so that it filled stadiums with fans watching her “perform.” Then the CCP chose her as a “youth ambassador.”
At the time, the Global Times reported that Luo’s job would be to “instill correct thinking into the younger generation with her singing,” and “embed hot societal topics and positive values into her songs and spread them to younger generations.”
In the year of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, more than ever party officials are targeting young people, promoting virtual idols and spreading video games that tell a totally distorted history of China, and always extolling the CCP.
The CCP has also used rap music—which comes from the United States—to promote communism. It recently released a 15-minute track featuring 100 rappers to celebrate the CCP’s 100th anniversary.
In order to be famous and transcend in China, artists must be fully aligned with the CCP and support its causes.
Its biggest campaigns so far began in March and featured pop icons, actors and other celebrities who support the use of Uighur slave labor in the western province of Xinjiang.