Korean actor Ma Dong-seok has become an unlikely hero for Chinese social media users. According to The Guardian, a growing number of Chinese netizens are using photos of the actor as their profile pictures on social media platforms, claiming that it brings them good luck and helps them resolve disputes and complaints.
The trend started on China’s popular review application, Xiaohongshu, and quickly spread to other platforms like Weibo and WeChat. Users claim that changing their profile picture to Ma Dong-seok’s photo has resulted in better treatment from customer service representatives, with some even receiving discounts.
One user reported that changing their profile picture to Ma Dong-seok’s photo helped them resolve a complaint that had been ignored when their profile picture was of a woman. “After I changed it, the customer service representative was much more polite and even offered me a discount,” they said.
The trend has become so popular that even Chinese celebrities like Li Chen have joined in, changing their game profile pictures to that of Ma Dong-seok’s.
This phenomenon has not been limited to China, with Korean netizens reporting similar experiences. Some have claimed that using Ma Dong-seok’s photo as a profile picture has helped reduce spam messages and expedite complaint handling.
While the trend has brought some lighthearted fun and benefits to its participants, it has also raised concerns about discrimination. The Guardian reports that some view the trend as a manifestation of discrimination based on appearance, as using Ma Dong-seok’s photo implies that having a non-Asian appearance would result in worse treatment.
Regardless of its potential implications, the trend shows no signs of slowing down, with even AliExpress, a Chinese overseas shopping website, using Ma Dong-seok’s photo as a profile picture and promoting him as their spokesperson.