Can Emerging Markets Tilt Global Product Design? Impacts of Chinese Colorism on Hollywood Castings
80 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2017 Last revised: 9 Dec 2017
Date Written: October 3, 2017
In various cultural and behavioral respects, emerging market consumers differ significantly from their counterparts of developed markets. They may thus derive consumption utility from different aspects of product meaning and functionality. Based on this premise, we investigate whether the economic rise of emerging markets may have begun to impact the typical “one-size-fits-all” design of many international product categories. Focusing on Hollywood films, and exploiting a recent relaxation of China’s foreign film importation policy, we provide evidence suggesting that these impacts may exist and be non-negligible. In particular, we show that the Chinese society’s aesthetic preference for lighter skin can be linked to the more frequent casting of pale-skinned stars in films targeting the Chinese market. Implications for the design of international products are drawn.
Keywords: Emerging Markets, Hollywood, Films, China, Natural Experiments, Policy Change, Innovation, Culture
JEL Classification: L7, M3, O3, O5
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