written by: Fung Tsz Wai, Ruby

Dance is a global language that initiates non-verbal communications, social or cultural. Findings show that watching dance scenes generates entertainment, offers favorable distractions and hedonic emotions resonating with memories [1]. Elements of dance is widely used in media communication or even become a tool for personal branding.

Dance to facilitate brand/product recognition
Successful collaborations of dance and promotion messages enable recognition of a brand/product immediately after watching the expression of body language through the dance moves. One remarkable example is the famous Visa Travel Happy campaign in 2008 featuring a dancing Man around the world with repeated and weird dance steps sells Visa as a global currency [2]!

Visa commercial with Matt Harding dance around the world

Dance as an alternative to traditional destination marketing
The worldwide “I Charleston the world” project started in 2013 connects people in different places through swing dance around the globe. Taipei as the 85th location presenting “I Charleston Taipei” featuring 30 travel attractions scored more than 97k views on YouTube [3]. The dance campaign has made an impression better than many destination marketing campaigns of similar nature.

“I Charleston the world” in Taipei Station

Dancers – darling of sports and fashion brands
Dancers performing sophisticate movements in Nike branded sportswear shows how Nike products fit comfortably to the body. Brand and its products are articulately presented with natural products placement.

Athleisure shoes brand Skechers launches the latest collection DLT-A (acronym of “Delighted, timeless attitude”) with cool hip hop style dancing steps performed by k-pop sensation Zico of Block B [4], adding up-beat, young and rebellious attitude to the brand.

SKECHERS DLT-A promotion cover photo

Caution – misuse of the “dance language”
Irrelevant use of dancing in marketing communication may confuse audience with unlikely/forced associations. Beverage brands Fuze Lemon Tea (Korean stars Hani) and Fanta (happy youth) featuring group dancing in their promotions are examples that yields less convincing results. [5][6]

Dance for personal brand building
Some dancers established their fame in this digital-centric era by utilizing their talents to transform themselves into celebrities. Lia Kim, one of the most successful Korean choreographers, have 569k followers in Instagram and 729k subscribers on her YouTube channel. Her influence is not only confined in Korea but goes global[7]. Haruna Kunisawa, a Japanese choreographer and founder of a famous dance studio – Bedrex – in Hong Kong, wins the hearts of the dancers’ community and become an important influencer for brands. Celebrity dancers are evolving to become the new favorable endorsement icons for brands [8].

(from left to right) Lia Kim, May J Lee, Haruna Kunisawa

To conclude…
Magnificent dance performances adds colors and expectations to non-verbal communication exchange. Brands could also implicate that they are appreciating talents rather than just hard-selling products. Uplifting music with entertaining dance steps generate positive expectations to products and encourage consumption actions[9][10].

Local choreographer Ivan Chan once says that our lives are full of uncertainties, and so is dancing [11]. I believe that the practice of marketing communications is also full of uncertainties, sometimes with the unforeseen response from audience. Brands are always looking for ways to shine in the market, just like dancers are working hard to shine on the stage.


[1] http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/v37/acr_v37_15180.pdf

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVOsBVDXSzc

[3] http://www.appledaily.com.tw/realtimenews/article/new/20160714/907290/

[4] https://www.facebook.com/skechers.hongkong/

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3zRCu82lvs

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDLMOz_Uixc

[7] https://www.elle.com.hk/celebrity/feature/K-pop-choreographer-Lia-Kim/(offset)/7#eEmcEpOoJhRlicds.97

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfzQ4VDJK64

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/stage/dance-blog/2013/nov/18/advertising-dance-ballet-nutcracker-tamara-rojo

[10] http://www.zuj.edu.jo/wp-content/staff-research/economic/dr.loay-al-tamimi/3.pdf

[11] https://www.thestandnews.com/art/%E7%94%A8%E8%88%9E%E8%B9%88%E8%B7%9F%E7%94%9F%E6%B4%BB%E6%8F%A1%E6%89%8B-%E8%88%9E%E4%BA%BA%E7%BF%92%E4%BD%9C2017/