updated 16 Jan 2012, 00:13
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Tue, Jan 10, 2012
The New Paper
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Fame, or infamy, an upload away


She can thank that Valentine's Day stunt of hers for her fame.

Otherwise, Chinese model-actress Gan Lulu may well have remained just another of the many struggling "pretty faces-big boobs" wannabes.

A graduate of the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing in 2008, Gan has mostly played minor roles in films and TV dramas.

It's not surprising that the Internet has become a useful tool of the trade, said veteran analysts from China.

IT consultant Geng Hao, who provides services to movie and advertising production houses, said: "With nearly 400 million people online now, the IT-savvy know that it's the sure-win method of communication.

"You want to reach out to the masses? Just use domestic social media sites such as Sina's Weibo or video-sharing sites sites like QQ, Youku and Tudou."

The site owners of Daily Lenglui, a website that profiles "lesser-known models or women with an interesting story", agreed that sex or scandal are generally effective marketing tools.

One of the site owners, who wanted to be known only as Richard, said: "A straight man who claims that he's not fascinated with breasts is likely telling a lie."

More than 74 per cent of viewers at Daily Lenglui are men. The site gets an average of 6,000 hits daily.

Richard offered another reason: "Nudity and sex sell, but most media like TV can't show them. The Internet is a completely different beast. It's vast, mostly unregulated and can be searched and content distributed easily."

A veteran print and broadcast observer, Mr Paul Tsui, pointed out the effectiveness of social media platforms.

Mr Tsui said: "All you need is to have one scandalous photo circulated or a salacious clip go viral, and fame - or infamy - will come knocking on your door."

A sociology professor at Beijing University, Ms Xia Xueluan, noted that the "stars" in the centre of the controversies often don't mind the backlash, and advertisers and producers "recognise the value of getting such stars".

That's because for every critical man, there can easily be five curious supporters, said Professor Fu Tan Ming, a social behavioural analyst based in Beijing.

And being all sugar and nice is not likely to generate enough buzz.

Mr Tsui explained: "Shock. Titillate. Such stunts will definitely get the chatter going because while people love to hate the bad, they can't help being interested in devouring more (details). The many 'success stories' prove that extreme publicity methods work."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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