Emerging Pop Culture During These Days

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From ASAP+ Blog

Annabelle Qualls


We have collected a roundup of viral trends and culturally relevant material in China that was popular during these days. These trends span across three main areas: 


RETAIL:

Dyson released a new product called Dyson Airwrap that features a curling iron set promising to curl or straighten hair with minimal heat involved. The product went viral because of the Chinese influencers used to promote the product and also due to the jaw- dropping price: $550. This campaign has been praised for its viral success but some of the feedback demonstrates Chinese consumer weariness around influencer marketing.


MEDIA:

Two exceedingly popular television shows this season are “Viva La Romance” and “Mars Intelligence Agency”. Both are published solely on online platforms (such as Youku) and are a reality show and talk show, respectively. “Viva La Romance” takes a total of four couples, separating husband and wife. All four wives go on an extravagant vacation, while the husbands sit at home and are recorded watching an edited, final-cut version of the trip. This format allows viewers to really get a look into unaltered and honest reactions of husbands watching their respective wives enjoy themselves away from their significant others. It stars one of Hunan Satellite TV’s most famous female hosts, Xie Na, as one of the wives of the four participating couples, creating quite a bit of hype among Chinese netizens.


“Mars Intelligence Agency” brings viewers into a space-themed talk show, where hosts pretend they are Martians and are examining and delving into Earthling’s behaviors as well as daily phenomena. This type of variety show is popular among Chinese audiences as it allows hosts and guests to start a dialogue discussing common occurrences and experiences of the average person in an uncommon and unique way.


Other than these two popular TV shows, we’ve also come across a unique social media “challenge”: The “falling stars” challenge first came from Russia where rich young people showed off their extreme wealth by appearing to have fallen out of luxury cars or apartments with all of their expensive accessories next to them. Many Chinese have taken on the challenge, some showing off wealth and others using the challenge as an opportunity for a parody.


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NEW WORDS:

As with every language, subtle variations and changes occur, creating slang/colloquial words. Chinese, of course, is not an exception. Three common words present in memes and WeChat “stickers” are Tiangou (舔狗), Caihongpi (彩虹屁), and Chongya (冲鸭). Tiangou, literally meaning a dog licking something, refers to someone who attracted to another person but the feelings are not mutual. This creates an image of a dog sitting at their owner’s feet, lapping at the air, trying to get their attention. Chongya, is unique word in the way that the latter Chinese character is a homonym for a modal particle, attached to the word chong (冲), similar to the English military-esque word, “charge!” The character for duck鸭(ya, first tone) is used to replace the modal particle呀(ya, neutral tone) creating a somewhat dialectal version of the original term. This animal-themed homonym game also is played with terms like干嘛(what are you doing?) where嘛(ma, second tone), a question particle, is replaced with马(ma, third tone) meaning horse. Overall, we can see the development of Chinese colloquialisms never ceases to stray from its unique path.


Image Sources: Weibo


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