Michelle Chong’s ‘Ah Lian’ persona has become a darling for content marketers – here’s why

Everything goes up to 11 in Michelle Chong’s latest video to subtly promote Taobao’s Singles Day promotions – including the clock on the wall.
YouTube/The Michelle Chong Channel

There’s no stopping Michelle Chong whose ‘Ah Lian’ persona has quickly become the darling of content marketers looking to attract eyeballs through the power of social media videos.

In her latest appearance, the Singaporean host, actress and TV director was engaged by China’s largest online marketplace Taobao.com to promote its upcoming Singles Day sales on Nov 11.

In a four-minute video posted on her own channel on YouTube on Wednesday (Nov 8), Chong hilariously explains how the number ’11’ relates to singlehood before giving tips on how shoppers can snap up good deals on the day.

Of course she dishes out her signature brand of Singlish throughout the clip, which has garnered more than 9,000 views at the time of writing.

The same clip was posted on her official Facebook page with the caption: “Forever Single Lim Bu give you tip on how to be Super Single Shopper on Singles Day 11.11. Lady and Gentlemen, are you ready?”

The post has been shared some 325 times and viewed more than 29,000 times.

In June, Chong unleashed her inner Ah Lian for two separate online clips for the hit Netflix series, Orange Is The New Black, rehashing it again last month for online supermarket RedMart’s latest campaign, “Fresher Thank You Think”.

The character also appeared in social media videos promoting Universal Studios Singapore’s Halloween Horror Nights 7 last month.

In an earlier Straits Times report, the 40-year-old said: “I think the Ah Lian culture is something that is truly, uniquely Singaporean, belonging to us and us only.”

Advertisers sure are biting on that fact – and with good reason.

Nanyang Polytechnic lecturer Ms Umah Ramasamy from the School of Business Management said that what’s key is that Chong’s Ah Lian persona resonates well with the Singapore market.

“She’s a unique and well-liked character and she comes across as quirky. This is a brand’s way of localising its content to make it appealing on the Internet where it can have viral impact,” she told Business Insider.

While Chong’s refined the art of bringing on on the laughs, it’s also important for a brand’s personality to sit well with her character.

Ms Ramasamy said: “She will definitely be a good match for brands which are quirky and fun but I’m sure she will be able to pull it off even for more formal or refined ones.”