Sex sells? Chinese businesses hire pretty women to pose for property
Nowadays, if you go to any real estate trade show in China, you will never fail to notice pretty women seductively attired, some of them Caucasians, posing in front of booths.
Models for real property first appeared in Shanghai in 2003. Business-savvy Shanghainese thought show rooms, floor plans, catalogs and architectural models are too inanimate and cold, giving the feel of “asphalt jungle,” whereas pretty young girls radiate good vibes and can vividly demonstrate the details of the architectural design and fashionable lifestyle. The delightful contrast formed by the beauty and the house can arouse an impulse to purchase in potential buyers.
According to Chongqing Evening Post, in Beijing and Shanghai, models for real property are paid 1,000 to 1,500 yuan per day. Official figures available on the Internet say the average monthly income in two cities in 2009 are respectively 4,036 and 3,566 yuan. Nevertheless, models’ income is still nominal compared with two cities’ expensive residential housing priced at 30,000 yuan per square meter. That means an average Beijinger or Shanghainese has to pay 3 million yuan (US$450,000), or 70 years of his income for a 100-square-meter apartment (1,070 square feet).
But the marketing strategy has clearly gone awry and taken on the appearance of freak show where models stand on display and those present view them as objects. Property developers’ attempt to gain publicity is catch-as-catch can. Onlookers, interested in buying a home or not, would also love to feast on eye candies. It seems a win-win situation. A pageant for selection of top models for property has been launched, which incorporates physical beauty, talent, eloquence, manner and answers to judges’ questions as judged criteria.
It is always safe to touch upon sexuality when it comes to advertising and sales, as it can lure people’s interest and evoke senses of beauty and pleasure that advertisers and sellers want their products to be associated with. In Asia where male chauvinism still prevails subtextually, women often take up the role of pleasing men.
And you’d be wrong if you think it is farfetched to link beauty with house in China. As the Chinese idiom goes, “When the phoenix tree is ready, the phoenix will come.” Chinese women typically expect their husbands-to-be to have a home before tying the knot. “Keeping a beauty in a golden house (jin wu cang jiao)” seems to be the life that every Chinese man desires.