What’s wrong with the latest SK-II China Campaign?

Yes, it is about #LeftoverWomen. Surprise!

Yes, it went viral. Surprise!

Yes, it’s a tear jerker. Surprise!

No, I don’t understand #ChangeDestiny — the hashtag at the end of the video. All the 30-something female interviewees talked about their parents’ aspirations to see them married to good men. In tears, these career women reveal the humiliation from their overbearing relatives on their being still single at such an (appallingly old) age at the family gathering.

But back to the hashtag, who is to change their destiny? These women themselves? The country, the society? Or their up-in-the-air Superhero boyfriends too busy saving the world?


A side note to your entertainment—

In 2007, China’s Women’s Federation (中国妇联)coined the term “Leftover Women” for those highly educated, urban, professional women over twenty-seven who are still unmarried.

Yes, the Women’s Federation.


What interest me more is these women’s lifelong passions, what their typical day is like, how they become who they are now. Shockingly, the creative director gave us another tear-jerker making them the victims of social bully.

At the Nick Vujicic event last week, one thing he said that I will never forget happens to be this—

If you are not happy single, chances are that you won’t be happy married.

These single women must be quite successful doing what they do. Or why would SK-II select them for the taping? But from the campaign’s perspective, we fail to see that side, at all. I don’t know the vocations of these posh talking heads as they wipe tears away from their weepy eyes.

The end of the video lingers on the shot at the Shanghai People’s Square’s Marriage Corner. They set up installations with these women’s glamor shots captioned with touchy-feely quotes like, “I don’t want to marry for marriage’s sake. I will not be happy.



SK-II China Commercial — ‘She Finally Goes to the Marriage Corner’

Gosh, I cried. I pity these women. I feel sorry for myself. I miss my parents. I feel awful. I need my ice-cream.


I even composed a letter to the SK-II executives —

Dear SK-II,

You see, I had plans to buy your exquisite products. But I regret to inform you that after carefully studying your powerful video, I decide not to.

As a leftover woman, I feel guilty. You make it perfectly clear that I should let go of my pride and beg for people’s sympathy because I’m socially disabled.

Well, pride is all I had. Now I have nothing. I’d better think ahead and plan my spinster life.

As a single woman with no foreseeable love interest, I retain a sharp memory. Allow me refresh yours.

Wasn’t it Tang Wei who proudly claimed that—

“If I didn’t start using the Magic Water in my 20s, I won’t have the skin I have now.”

Wait a sec, how old is she? 40?

“The earlier you start using the Magic Water, the more profound changes you’ll notice later.”

How ‘later’ is later?

“560 RMB for a FOURTEEN-day treatment.”

Do you know the salary of an average single leftover woman? Of course you have all the stats from your CFO.

With the staggering inflation rate and unstable economy, I don’t think spending my hard-earned leftover woman money on your deluxe products is a wise investment after all. Now I am freed from putting on cream for the sake of pleasing a potential husband. Plenty options out there, like Vaseline, or any CVS lines.

Please hold your laugh till I leave. Show some dignity, will ya?

So long. SK-II. And please send my best regards to your siblings, SK-I & III.

Sincerely yours,
A leftover woman who has to watch her wallet


PS. From the storytelling point of view, having the audience pity the hero is as expensive as chicken shit, which hurts SK-II as a high-end skincare product.

Author: Rock Bottom with YZ

YZ is a Shanghai-born LA-trained bilingual storyteller in various spheres.

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