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Japanese porn star hailed marketing genius

Since 2009 the Hong Kong book fair has sparked controversy by evolving into a pseudo-model battlefield and has garnered considerable media attention, but organisers the Trade Development Council doesn’t seem to mind.

This year 13 out of 130 autograph sessions at the fair were allocated to teenage pseudo-models to promote their albums, where one, Keiko, created a huge stir after going bra-less two days ago when promoting her album creating chaotic scenes.

The way that ‘gravure idols’ market themselves may be controversial, but their marketing strategies have a proven track record of success, attaining mainstream media recognition and gaining significant popularity. Celebrated Japanese AV idol Sora Aoi (pictured) is a perfect example.

Aoi’s Weibo account, established in 2010, has already garnered over 14,000,000 fans and is ranked 69th on Weibo celebrities’ fame list. So what strategies have been applied to make her stand tall from all competitors? Apple Daily’s columnist and marketing expert Yuan Xu concludes there are three key success factors.

1. Go deep into the local culture

Aoi boned up on her Chinese language skills in order to reach out to Chinese users on Weibo, strengthening the engagement with her target audience. She also expressed an interest in Chinese culture such as Chinese calligraphy and Peking opera to resonate with Chinese users. Not only does it help highlight the uniqueness and raise awareness of the idol, it also washes away her image of a porn star.

2. Have a big heart

In 2010, Aoi launched an effort to raise funds for Yushu Earthquake victims on Weibo to add a sentimental touch to her personal image. In last year’s Senkaku Island incident, on Weibo she issued an appeal for Sino-Japanese friendship written in Chinese calligraphy, which stirred 150,000 comments with some wrote: “I am touched”. The move saw the porn star participate in a feature about the Senkaku Island incident in The Economist, taking her image to the next level.
3. Go large on social media

Aoi maintains frequent interactions with her fans on Twitter and Weibo to retain popularity. All the interactions on social media such as sharing photos, replying to comments and online chatting bring the idol closer to her fans and, most importantly, let their fantasies run wild.

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