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Friday, September 22, 2023

Topless Male Manicurists: China’s Salon Sparks Debate with Bold Marketing Move

BusinessTopless Male Manicurists: China's Salon Sparks Debate with Bold Marketing Move

In an age where unconventional marketing strategies often gain the most traction, a manicure salon in Kunming, located in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, has generated significant buzz. However, it wasn’t the nail artistry that caused the stir, but the salon’s choice to feature topless, muscular men in its promotional video.

The video, which went viral last month according to a report by Jimu News, showcases the well-built male employees either bare-chested or donning only aprons as they cater to the salon’s predominantly female clientele. The clip’s popularity soared when it captured a female customer’s rather dramatic reaction — a nosebleed — supposedly triggered by the sight of the shirtless manicurists.

Amidst growing debate over the appropriateness of the advertisement, the salon’s owner came forward to shed light on the motive behind the risqué campaign. He confirmed that the video was primarily a marketing stunt, and might have been “a bit exaggerated” to capture attention. Contrary to the imagery in the video, he assured that the staff usually wore standard attire like any other nail salon workers. The men only disrobed for the video shoot to flaunt their physiques, and interestingly, the female “customers” in the clip were in fact employees of the establishment.

However, this explanation did not alleviate concerns entirely. A local regulatory official revealed that an investigation was underway in response to public grievances.

While the salon’s unusual advertising approach has become a topic of discussion, it’s worth noting that more men are venturing into the nail care industry. One of the male manicurists at the salon, who has been in the profession for three years, weighed in on the debate. He emphasized that while marketing gimmicks might draw initial attention, it’s the quality of the service that ensures customer loyalty. He stated, “After our video went live, we witnessed an influx of clientele. However, our proficiency in delivering quality manicures will determine if they become regulars.”

Despite the owner’s justification and the manicurist’s optimistic perspective, social media users voiced more critical opinions. Many expressed discomfort and disdain for the salon’s marketing methods. One user asked, “Is it just me or is this marketing campaign utterly distasteful?” Another opined, “Most girls would likely find such displays vulgar. Women generally prefer men who appear tidy, attractive, and exude positivity.” One particularly outraged comment read, “This salon prioritizes profits over principles. Where is it located? I intend to publicly condemn it.”

Yet, the Kunming manicure salon is not the only establishment leveraging “sexy men” to bolster business. Previously, a restaurant in Yunnan faced closure after videos of scantily dressed male waitstaff performing sensual dances and feeding female customers mouth-to-mouth became popular. Additionally, in 2021, a hotpot restaurant in the northwestern region of Shaanxi stirred controversy by employing shirtless male models as servers.

These marketing strategies, although divisive, undeniably achieve their goal of drawing attention. The larger question, however, is whether they are a sustainable and ethical approach to building clientele and brand reputation.


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