Korean Sociological Image #25 – Women: Apologize to your Bottoms!


After all, even actress Oh Yoon-ah (오윤아) does. Or at least according to the black text in the advertisement above.

It also proclaims that her buttocks are worthy of being described as part of a “쭉쭉빵빵” figure, so presumably the logic is that she needs the product being advertised to maintain that figure, with apologies to her buttocks for having used different methods previously.

Yet that’s based on the assumption that, in Korea too, it is a legal requirement for endorsers of products to have already used or be using what they’re advertising. But perhaps that would be applying too much logic here:

Compelling viewing for sure. But then Applehip Korea is essentially arguing that sitting on your ass all day is all you need to get “apple hips” (애플힙) like those of the women above, so possibly the aim of the commercial is more to distract you from that non-sequitur?

To be more precise, at least two hours of sitting in the seat a day are necessary according to this Korean “news” article, preferably with three uses of the massage function. See here and here for instructions, and all yours for a mere 338,000 won (US$288)!

Of course, by no means is South Korea the only country in the world where essentially useless exercise equipment is sold, and the seat may well improve one’s posture. But as this Korean source (refreshingly) laments, while Korean women’s interest in their appearance is excessively high, their interest in exercise is very limited. Indeed the entire beauty, diet, and exercise industries here are predicated on a widespread belief that obtaining the perfect body is possible provided one merely buys and passively uses, applies or digests various products.

Lest that sound like exaggeration, see here and here for further examples and links to studies providing empirical evidence. And, unfortunately, because of a loophole in legislation regarding “health-related” products specifically, there is little to prevent Korean advertisers continuing to make such absurd claims of their products.

On a final note, did anyone else find having a guy standing with a sign saying “Women! Apologize to your bottoms!” a little creepy? How about several of them, standing on a street with placards and a shopping cart full of apples?

Update: Not really related — the buttock-dancing in the commercials is not as much of a jump for Korea as it may at first appear — but the commercials instantly reminded of these ones from Reebok that have created so much controversy in the US recently. For those of you unfamiliar with them, see the ensuing discussion here, here, and here.

(For more posts in the Korean Sociological Images series, see here)

Related Posts:

Selling Wine to Korean Women

Writing about sexual symbolism in advertisements for so long, it takes a lot to shock or surprise me these days.

Still, I confess I burst out laughing at this one.

Lest you feel that my sense of humor is a little crass however, then perhaps you need the context. Last week, I was skimming an article in the Korea Times about the rivalry between the French wine Beaujolais Nouveau (보졸레누보) above and the Korean rice wine Makgeolli (막걸리), and suddenly noticed this:

Recognized as a simply old-fashioned drink for a long time, Makgeolli is popular with trend-savvy young female customers in the current boom. The biggest group is women in their 20s and 30s, and some of them ended up placing orders for [the new] Makgeolli Nouveau (막걸리누보) when they came to reserve its Beaujolais counterpart, according to Hyundai Department Store.

Now I’ve written a lot on gender-based Korean advertising in recent months, including that of tea-drinks, health-drinks, and attempts to make soju more appealing to women, so I was interested in finding out if that preference was partially the result of (or led to) similar marketing: after all, gender-based advertising is often more indicative of advertisers’ stereotypes and prejudices rather than any empirical evidence that it actually works. And in the case of that for “girly” Korean drinks in particular?

Well, recently at least that has meant nothing more sophisticated than either the use of a lot of pastel colors and/or the breaking of the convention that bottles must be pointing straight-up and in the bottom right-corner of advertisements. Instead, they pop up in a most satisfying manner almost anywhere, and usually at somewhat less than a 90-degree angle (see here and the bottom of here).

Obviously I can see the humor, and even like this one (aimed at men), but I’m beginning to find its repetitiveness kind of patronizing too.

Refreshingly, I actually saw little evidence of either feature in the marketing for Makgeolli Nouveau (see here and here for examples) though. But you can imagine what frame of mind I was in then, when I finally turned my attention to advertisements for Beaujolais Nouveau instead, and was greeted with the magnificent specimen above!

( Source )

In fairness to Korean advertisers, Beaujolais Nouveau certainly seems to be considered a girly drink worldwide also. In Japan it is poured into spas and promoted as giving smooth skin for instance, and the (presumably) international labeling of previous years’ wines similarly featured pastel colors and flowers and so on.

This possibly explains why the “Peninsula Beaujolais Nouveau Party” at Lotte Hotel in Seoul last Friday boasted a lingerie fashion show too.

But more to the point, the text “신의물방울”, in the top-left corner of the advertisement, translates as “The Water Drops of God” or Kami no Shizuku, a Japanese comic book about wine. Extremely popular, and not just in North-east Asia, there is a wealth of commentary on it, so for interested readers I suggest this post at the manga blog Precocious Curmudgeon for the best summary, with many links to longer news articles. Focusing on the original advertisement here though, in one of those links it is argued that the comic’s greatest impact has in fact been on South Korea, with over 1 million copies sold, and the authors were “stunned to be greeted like stars”  on their first visit there in 2007, even finding themselves introduced to candidates during the presidential election.

You can imagine then, the effect on sales here (and worldwide) when Beaujolais Nouveau was featured in it a few years ago, and accordingly in 2007 Japanese distributor Mercian hired the illustrator to design new labels for the drink. Presumably, a Korean language version of that is what we are seeing here.

For those of you more interested the wines themselves though, I recommend this article from Slate more information on Beaujolais Nouveau itself, albeit not a very flattering one (indeed, a rival Japanese food and drink comic book to Kami no Shizuku describes the drink as “little more than a French prank that the Japanese have fallen for hook, line and sinker”), and the recession has recently forced it to be sold there 10% cheaper than in previous years and in plastic bottles.

( Source: unknown )

Meanwhile, for more information on Makgeolli Nouveau I recommend two articles in turn recommended by connoisseur Tom Coyner: the first from early November on the reasons for Makgeolli’s renaissance, and which mentions that women make up only 10% of drinkers of regular Makgeolli but 30% of the fruit-flavored ones; and the second from Wednesday on the difficulties of expanding the market from its current 3.6% of all alcohol sales. In addition, you may also find this article from February about the Japanese role in its resurgence interesting, and finally all of the above should be placed into the context of the Korean government wanting to promote more domestic rice consumption, as evidenced by its attempts to promote “Garaetteok (가래떡) Day,” named after stick-shaped rice cakes, over the more commonly recognized “Pepero Day” earlier this month.

But has anyone actually tried either? Despite writing all that, I actually only started drinking wine and beer myself about 3 months ago(!) at the tender age of 33 (I preferred various cocktails), but if it tastes okay then I certainly wouldn’t mind trying something sweet and cheap like Beaujolais Nouveau. Any variety of Makgeolli however, would be just too weird: I have tried it, and concluded that something that looks like milk should not taste like wine!^^

Update 1: Water Drops of God is being made into a Korean Japanese drama series featuring Bae Yong-jun (배용준), and is scheduled to start next month.

Update 2: As Gomushin Girl has pointed out in the comments, labeling Makgeolli as rice “wine” is probably incorrect. Adding to that, this post at The Marmot’s Hole makes is clear that serving it in a wine glass is particularly inappropriate.

Update 3: Unfortunately, Bae Yong-jun’s drama series has been canceled.


Korean Sociological Image #24: Childcare is Women’s Job

Oma(Source: 제동환 via Photo and Share CC)

For traveling parents, this is a godsend:

Asiana’s mother-friendly services have been gaining enthusiastic reviews from those who have been through the ordeals of traveling with infants.

Through the recent launch of “Happy Mom Services,” the airline has been providing exclusive check-in counters for mothers at the airport, breastfeeding covers and baby slings free of charge for travelers with babies.

It gets even better:

In response to the enthusiastic reception, Asiana will extend the “Happy Mom Services” to 66 airports internationally. Also, they will lengthen the age limit from 24 months to 36 months old…

….Passengers with infants will also receive a “Priority Tag” on their checked baggage. Arriving passengers with infants will now be able to quickly retrieve their baggage without the hassle of caring for their infant while waiting at baggage claim…

…For larger infants traveling on children tickets, Asiana is providing free installation of baby safety seats upon reservation. Asiana hopes the service will negate the need for passengers to bring along their own baby seats.

And considering the discriminatory hiring practices of its main rival Korean Air, which refuses to hire men for its cabin crew (see #2 here), then it seems somewhat picky, almost churlish to find any fault with Asiana’s initiative.

But still, “Happy Mom Services”?

(Source: Travel Story)

Yes, easy to overlook, unfortunately we are already barraged with signals that encourage and/or reinforce the notion that childcare is primarily women’s responsibility. For instance, wherever you are in the world, note the warning signs the next time you step on an escalator: only very rarely will you see child stick figures being protected by a male or gender-neutral one rather than a female one. Or, closer to home, consider Seoul Mayor Oh Se Hoon’s recent “Happy Women, Happy Seoul” plan involving the provision of such things as more women’s toilets and the now notorious pink parking spaces: as I point out here, providing larger spaces for those with children and pushchairs to unload is all well and good…but not if fathers are not allowed to use them. And I could go on with many similar examples.

Granted, probably none are confined only to Korea. But in the country with:

…then one suspects that greater attention should be paid to the grass-roots origins of those issues, which unfortunately Asiana’s choice of name only adds to.

Having said that, they’ll still easily be my first choice for traveling with my two young daughters from now on. And if it would be effective, I’d consider writing letters to both English and Korean-language newspapers to draw Asiana’s attention to the problem, hopefully persuading them to change the name to “Happy Parents’ Service.” What do you think?

(For more posts in the Korean Sociological Images Series, see here)

Korean Movie Review #1: A Good Lawyer’s Wife (2003)

A Good Lawyer's Wife Cast( Source )

A Good Lawyer’s Wife defies easy description.

Heavily marketed on the basis of its explicit sexual content, and with probably no longer than 10 minutes between one sex scene and the next, on the surface it is simply pornography masquerading as art-house cinema. Or so I thought when I first saw it at the cinema in August 2003, my – let’s be honest – appreciation of Moon So-ri’s (문소리) nude body tempered by the knowledge that the object of her affections was Bong Tae-gyu (봉태규), then regularly appearing in numerous childish and annoying television commercials. Hardly lacking for access to pornography, I saw no reason to watch it again in the next 6 years.

But the movie was my first introduction to Hwang Jung-min (황정민), whom after seeing his transformation into a bumbling, possibly slightly mentally-handicapped idiot in You Are My Sunshine (너는 내 운명; 2005) a little later, instantly became one of my favorite actors. And then seeing So-ri’s brief but stellar performance in Peppermint Candy (박하사탕; 2000) last week too, I thought I’d give it another chance. After all, my tastes are a little more mature and more discerning now, and far from being put off by depictions of relationships between 30-something women and (often) childish younger men, if all goes to plan I’ll be formally writing a dissertation on precisely that by next March.

Watching it (again) myself over several nights originally then, I was very surprised at how much I liked it this time, and how much of the plot I’d either overlooked or simply gotten completely wrong 6 years ago. Struggling to determine why my opinion had changed so dramatically on a second viewing, I decided to watch it with my wife to see if she liked it also, and more importantly why. Unfortunately, she too thought it was largely pornography masquerading as art-house cinema(!), but she did at least confirm what I’d relearned about the plot. And watching her reactions out of the corner of my eye while ironing shirts (as one does when seeing a highly pornographic movie for the third time), finally it came to me.

A Good Lawyer's Wife Movie Poster

The first thing of note is that its English title is an extremely poor choice. Although it’s true that So-ri’s sexual frustrations with lawyer-husband Jung-min are the catalyst for her having an affair with her teenage neighbor (not actually consummated until close to the end, but – rather than maintaining the suspense – the DVD introduction helpfully shows that scene!), she is by no means a “society wife” smiling inanely at his shoulder at numerous dinner parties and so forth; in fact, she literally has no involvement in his working life and relationships whatsoever. There’s no evidence to suggest that she “gave up her dancing career in order to be a good lawyer’s wife” either, despite what the appalling Wikipedia article on the movie suggests, and one suspects that – like many English-speaking viewers – the writer was misled by the title.

Instead, a much better translation of “바람난 가족” would have been “A Family Having Affairs,” and accordingly it is quickly revealed in the first few minutes that with the exception of Jung-min’s dying father (competently played by Kim In-moon {김인문}) all main adult characters are or will have illicit sexual relationships: Jung-min a long-standing one with Baek Jeong-rim (백정림), a very complex character difficult to get to grips with in just one sitting; his mother Yoon Yeo-jeong (윤여정) with a minor character; and of course So-ri with Tae-gyu. And therein lies the source(s) of the continual sex scenes, which apparently attracted Korean viewers in droves (it was #1 at the box office).

But what, amongst all the sex, were the other points of this movie? What, indeed, was its “moral,” which – as I stressed in my last review – I believe a movie has to have in order to be worthwhile?

Well, without wanting to give any of the plot away, by virtue of all the affairs this is clearly a family with problems (even an adopted son is aware that Jung-min is lying when he says he’s working late). Jung-min’s reasons for his are unfortunately never elaborated, but his mother’s are: like Moon So-ri, she was sexually frustrated.

And how, in a marriage, might one become so?

A Good Lawyer's Wife 2003

Well, while I’m not naive or intellectually shallow enough to attribute all married couples’ sexual problems to a lack of communication, nor arguing that communicating with one’s spouse (or partner for that matter) automatically solves them, I would wager that – if you’ll forgive the pun – a lack of communication is at the root of the vast majority of them. But whereas So-ri may not have been able to resolve her own sexual frustration with Jung-min given that he was already secretly having an affair, tellingly she doesn’t even try. Instead, as one would expect from a fucked-up family, she seems to have her heart set on fucking Tae-gyu literally the morning after Jung-min fails to satisfy her (the poster on the right is rather misleading).

Granted, to a large extent I’d simply be projecting in seeing meaning in that. After all, after 9 years together as a couple (5 married), my wife and I have naturally had our own sexual issues, especially after the birth of 2 children, but – with the knowledge that not doing so would have grave consequences for our marriage – all happily resolved by simply discussing things. Hence, despite all the attention on them, I do personally see all the affairs and the sex in the movie as natural consequences of and/or metaphors  for something deeper. As I think was the deliberate intention of director Im Sang-soo (임상수).

For instance, as Darcy Paquet in his excellent review at Koreanfilm.org points out, this is not the first time he has presented frank sexuality and nonconformist heroes in his movies. And in particular, bear in mind that with: the longest working hours in the world (albeit many of which are not actually spent working); the lowest women’s workforce participation rate in the OECD; and prostitution accounting for 4.1% of GDP also, then as this Japanese author (and personal experience) suggests, there are a lot of virtually sexless marriages in this part of the world.

Ergo, there may be more to the popularity of this movie than mere voyeurism, particularly as it was the enthusiastic response to finally having such frustrations articulated in popular culture in the mid-1990s that is what made movies like this possible in the first place.

True, I’ve yet to look for confirmation from Korean-language sources of that (watch this space). But as a response to potential accusations of overanalysis and projection then, let me offer this challenge: at the behest of their relatives and descendants, Jung-min’s main legal case in the movie – presented in the very first scene in fact – involves the unearthing of victims of an atrocity, which presumably took place during the Korean War or just before. There are also references to Jung-min’s own extended family being separated by the Korean War. While I have yet to come across any reviewer that interprets the former as any more than merely establishing his character as a lawyer though, and hence easily interchangeable with any other legal case, what purpose could both serve other than as metaphors for the broken family at the heart of this movie?

Likewise, gratuitous sex  is not what this movie is all about. And so compelling are all main characters’ stories, that despite yourself you may be wishing that one or two sex scenes had been removed in favor of further character development by the end of the movie. Indeed, the only criticism of the movie I have personally is that even after 3 viewings, Jung-min’s motivations for his affairs remain a frustrating enigma.

Baek Jeong-rim Hwang Jung-min

Next week, if I can find it: My Wife is a Gangster (조폭 마느라; 2001) Samaritan Girl (사마리아; 2004).


Korean Sociological Image #23: Male Objectification

Acutely aware of the role my heterosexual male gaze can play in my choice of subjects and images for this blog sometimes, ironically I spend more time looking for those involving men these days, hoping to find something of note with which to achieve a balance.

In itself, this new commercial with boy-band 2PM hardly qualifies. But not only is male objectification an increasingly common theme in Korean advertising in recent months (see here and here for two examples featuring Lee Byung-hun {이병헌} and JYP {박진영} respectively), this would easily be one of the most audacious examples I’m aware of.

And coming so soon after this one for Cob Chicken (Cob 구어조은닭) too, then perhaps, like kissing, male objectification will be yet another advertising taboo discarded in 2009?

Granted, this may sound like exaggeration to readers based outside of Korea: all of the above examples are rather tame compared to their Western counterparts (NSFW) for instance, and the frequency of male objectification in the Korean media is easily paled by that of women, whom are also subject to excessive objectification and commodification in daily life here.

Nichkhun's Abs Real Brownie CommercialBut that media imbalance is hardly confined to Korea, and the speed of change is particularly remarkable. After all, however unbelievable it may sound today, recall that social norms prohibited Korean women from publicly admiring men’s bodies until as recently as 2002!

Meanwhile, apologies for not providing a translation for the commercial, but given the product’s name then I think you’ll quickly get the idea!^^ And I would very much appreciate it if readers could tell me of any more examples like it that I may have missed.

(For all posts in the Korean Sociological Images series, see here)

Gendered Tea-drink Advertising in South Korea

Lee Hyori Black Bean Tea(Source)

Granted, Marxism might not be the first thing one thinks of when one sees Lee Hyori’s navel. But as it turns out, it’s a perfect fit.

If you’ll bear with me for a moment, once a market is saturated, I learned at university in New Zealand, there is a inherent tendency for a company’s rate of profit to fall. But this can be offset by re-marketing and/or making new varieties of the original product, and accordingly my lecturer posited the plethora of varieties of Coca-Cola available in the U.S. as a reflection of the greater capitalistic development of its economy (read: saturation of its domestic market) compared to New Zealand’s, which then only had two. Indeed, advertising culture in New Zealand in the late-1990s, he suggested, was only akin to that of the US in the 1950s in its scale and intensity, no matter how brash and “American” New Zealanders regarded it.

It comes as a great surprise then, that even in the U.S. sports drinks are still “wildly skewed towards men”, and only within the last couple of years were drinks developed that took into account their (usually) lower-intensity exercise and dislike of the salty, high-calorie drinks available.

But one seriously wonders if equivalents will ever be available for Korean women. As the following summary of this 2006 study explains:

Diet advertisements in Korean magazines appear to promote more passive dieting methods (e.g., diet pills,aroma therapy, diet crème, or diet drinks) than active dieting methods (e.g., exercise). Results further indicated that women may be misled to believe that dieting is simple,easy, quick, and effective without pain, if they consume the advertised product. This study suggests that there is an urgent need to establish government regulations or policies about diet products and their claims in Korea. Magazine publishers alsoneed to recognize their role in societal well-being and accept some responsibility for advertisements in their magazines.

Korean Diet AdvertismentNaturally, I’ve discussed that study a great deal on the blog (see here for all the links), and it is primarily in that context that I want to examine the burgeoning Korean tea-drink market. But the economics of the industry still matter of course, and so this post is my translation of an article on the subject from the August 2008 edition of IM AD (아이엠애드; Korea’s only remaining advertising magazine), to be used as a resource for that analysis at a later date (or your own).

It’s rather long, so I’ve decided to provide each part in stages over the next week to give readers a better chance to digest them (particularly those interested in the original Korean). As you read this then, I will have just posted part two of three!

블랙빈테라티의 본격 웰빙 마케팅 Full-scale Black Bean Tea Well-being Marketing

음료 시장에서 탄산음료는 서서히 김이 빠지고, 과즙음료는 단맛을 잃었다. 차음료는 백 번을 우려도 남을 만큼 꾸준한 성장을 기록하고 있다. 또 동아오츠카의 블랙빈테라티는 시장에서 검은콩 음료를 새로운 트렌드로 만들어냈다. 그리고 이번에 진행한 온라인 캠페인은 신선한 ‘광고 테라피’라고 불러도 좋다.

While the market for carbonated drinks is slowly losing its fizz over time, and that for fruit drinks is losing its sweetness, the market for tea drinks remains as hot as the first time they are brewed, with the entrance of Donga-Otsuka’s ‘Black Bean Terra’ drink in particular creating a whole new trend. You could call the accompanying online advertisement campaign fresh “Advertisement Therapy” too.

음료 시장의 트랜드 ‘윌빙 + 디이어트’

Drink Market Trends of  “Well-being and Diet”

최근 한국의 음료 시장에는 몇 년 전부터 지속되고 있는 웰빙 트렌드에 맞춰 새로운 브랜드가 끊임없이 등장하고 있다. 소비자의 건강 증시 풍조에 따라 최근 3년간 탄산음료 시장은 6-7%대의 마이너스 성장늘 기록했다. 탄산음료는 2006년 월드컵 특수 등으로 반짝 성장률을 보였지만, 플레이버 음료 및 유성 탄산 브랜드의 매출이 급격히 줄어들면서 현재까지 하향 곡선을 그리고 있다. 과즙음료 또한 2006년 초에 출시된 ‘미녀는 석규를 촣아해’가 인기를 끈 것을 제외하면 대부분 주스 브랜드가 부진에 빠졌다.

Since the beginning of the well-being trend several years ago, new brands taking advantage of it haven’t stopped appearing. In accordance with consumers’ new focus on their health, the consumption of carbonated drinks has decreased 6-7% since 2006, although there was a brief spike in consumption during the 2006 World Cup. The consumption of flavored drinks and milky drinks has shown definite decreases too, and with the exception of the “미녀는 석규를 촣아해” drink popular at the beginning of 2006, the consumption of fruit juice drinks has stagnated.

Black Bean Thera Tea이처럼 대부분의 탄산/과즙음료가 마이너스 곡선을 그렸던 반면, 차 음료는 시장에서 지속적으로 성장하면서 지난해에도 전년 대비 30%에 달하는 신장세를 기록했다. 2000년을 전후로 녹차 제품은 차 음료 시장을 주도하고 있었다. 지나치게 달거나 자극적인 탄산/과즙 음료에 비해 담백한 맛을 지닌 녹차는 고정적인 소비자층을 형성하면서 2004년 당시 차음료 시장의 80%를 차지할 만큼 인기가 높았다. 하지만 녹차가 가진 떫은 맛은 10~20대 소비자들에게 어필하는 데 한계가 있었다. 또한 웰빙은 물론 다이어트와 미용에 관심이 많은 20대 여성이 시장의 핵심 소비자로 떠오르면서 맛과 성분을 개선한 혼합차를 선보이기 시작했다.

Like this, most carbonated and fruit juice drinks have a minus growth curve, but on the other hand the consumption of tea drinks grew by 30% in 2007. Green tea was the most popular tea drink around 2000. Compared to excessively sweet and stimulating carbonated and fruit juice drinks, consumers began to prefer plain green tea drinks and so a market was formed, comprising 80% of the tea-drink market by 2004. But green tea is very astringent, so it had limited appeal to consumers in their teens and 20s. Hence companies have started to develop new, more pleasant blended tea-drinks to be marketed to women in their 20s, who naturally have a lot of interest in dieting and their appearance.

처음 혼합차 시장에서 두각을 나타낸 것은 남양유업의 ‘몸이 가벼워지는 시간 17차’ 였다. 이후 광독제약이 ‘광동 옥수수수염차’를 내놓으면서 경챙은 가열됐고, 현재 옥수수수염 원료 제품만 30여 가지가 넘는다. 한 가지 눈에 띄는 점은 이들 제품의 공통적인 특징이 노화방지와 피부미용 효과가 있는 한약재를 비롯, L-카르티닌 등 지방 연소 기능이 있는 성분을 첨가해 젊은 여성들에게 폭발적인 호응을 얻고 있다는 사실이다. 또 각 업체들은 여성 연예인들 활용한 스타 마케팅에도 공을 들이고 있다. 이들은 전지현 (남양유업), 김태희 (광동제약)와 김아중 (해태음료) 등의 톱 모델을 자사 브랜드 이미지와 접목시켜 여성 소비자들의 구매욕구를 자극하고 있다.

Originally, Namyang’s “Make Your Body Lighter Time 17 Tea” stood out in the blended tea drink market. But a little later, an intense rivalry developed between that and with Gwangdong’s “Gwangdong Corn Cob Roots” drinks, and now there are as many as 30 products with that ingredient on the market. One noticeable point is that all these products contain both some traditional Korean medicine, which helps to prevent aging and maintain skin’s youthful appearance, and also L-Keratin, which helps to burn fat, both of which make these drinks have a very strong appeal to young women. Each company is putting a lot of effort into using famous stars to market their products, such as Jun Ji-hyun for Namyang, Kim Tae Hee for GwangDong, Kim Ah-joong for Haetai, and each hopes to have them and their images firmly associated with their brands by consumers.

독자적인 시장을 형성한 검은콩 음료

A Market for Black Bean Drinks Has Been Formed

외연의 확대는 여기서 그치지 않은다. 지난해부터는 곡물과 한약재 등을 섞은 혼합차 시장에서 검은콩이라는 단일 원료를 부각시킨 제품들이 출시되디 시작했다.

This market has not stopped expanding, and from last year, companies have started developing new blended tea drinks mixed with grains and/or Korean medicinal products. It was in this context that drinks with black beans as the sole ingredient were launched.

지난해 5월 해태음료는 검은콩을 ㅇ뤈료로 한 ‘차온 까만콩차(이하 까만 콩차)’를 선보였다. 한때 일화의 ‘햇살 가득한 까만콩차’가 브랜드명과 용기 디자인 흡사해 미투 (me too) 마케팅 논쟁이 일었을 정도로 검은콩 음료는 단기간에 시장에서 영역을 확장해나갔다.

Jun Ji-hyun Son Dam-bi Tea Advertisments(Source)

The market share of Black Bean drinks has increased rapidly, resulting in many cases of “me too marketing”. Haetai’s “Cha-eon Dark Black Bean Tea” (Dark Bean Tea) for instance, introduced last May, was quickly involved in heated competition with Ilhwa’s similar-sounding “Dark Bean Tea full of Sunshine,” which even had a similar design of bottle too.

까만콩차보다 한 달 앞서 동아오츠카가 론칭한 ‘블랙빈테라티’ 역시 블랙음료 시장을 빠르게 장악했다. 100% 검은콩을 우려냈음을 강조함과 동시에 차카테킨과 L-카르티닌을 함유한 제품 특징으로 기존차 음료의 핵심 타깃인 20 대 여성을 확보한다.

Donga-Otsuka’s “Black Bean Terra Tea” was launched one month before Dark Black Bean Tea, and also quickly established a foothold in the market. It is made entirely of the juices from crushed and squeezed black beans, and its catechin and L-keratin make it especially appealing to its core market of women in their twenties.

사실 무주공산과 다름없던 블랙음료 시장에서 결과적으로 ‘생존’과 ‘성공’을 동시에 달성한 브랜드는 까만콩차와 블랙빈테라티 뿐이라고 할 수 있다. 이 둘은 제품의 내외적인 측면에서 대동소이하면서도 명확한 차이를 보이며 경쟁하고 있다. 까만콩차가 국산 서리태만을 사용하는데 비해 블랙빈테라티 서리태와 서목태를 섞어 맛이 서로 다르다.

Actually, the black bean drink was entirely new, and so the only brands which came to survive and succeed were Dark Black Bean Tea and Black Bean Terra Tea. These two products are very similar, but do have some differences. Dark Black Bean Tea is made from Korean seoritae beans, which are blue inside, while Black Bean Terra Tea is made from seoritae beans and seomogtae (Rhynchosia Nulubilis) beans, and so they taste different.

Ji Hyun-woo Tea또 까만콩차와 영화배우 정우성과 지현우를 CF 모델로 선정해 고정 타깃인 여성뿐 아니라 차 음료시장에서 소외되다시피 했던 남성들을 아울렀던 반면, 블랙빈테라티는 이효리를 브랜드 모델로 선정해 젊은 여성층에게 제품 홍보와 마케팅을 집중시컸던 점 역시 차이를 봉ㄴ다. 물론 오프라인 여역을 토대로 한 무료 시음행사와 가종 이벤트 전략은 두 제품 외에 대부분의 음료 브랜드에서도 볼 수 있는 전통적인 프로모션 형태이다.

Also, Dark Black Bean Tea has used Jung Woo-sung and Ji Hyun-woo (right) in its commercials, indicating that its target consumers are not just women but also men who reject the notion that only women drink tea drinks. On the other hand, Black Bean Terra Tera has used Lee Hyori to market itself exclusively to young women. Of course, just like for other drinks, offline they are also used to market their products in various free-drinking events and so on (end).

보이는 라디오, 끌리는 캠페인

Visual Radio: A Campaign That Draws You In

Lee Hyori Black Bean Tea Online Campaign


이번 블랙빈테라티의 온라인 캠페인 (블랙빈FM 이벤트)은 브랜드 론칭 1년여 만에 처음 진행된 것이다. 이전까지는 웹사이트 내에서의 자체 홍보 외에 TV CF와 오프라인 프로므션 위주로 마케팅을 실시했다. 온라인 캠페인을 담당했던 다츠커뮤니케이션의 허정 대리는 “블랙빈테라티의 경쟁 브랜드는 크게 차 음료와 검은콩 음료로 분류된다. 하지만 17차를 비롯한 대부분이 스타마케팅에 의지해 온라인에서는 이밴트와 제품 자체의 홍보에 주력했다면, 블락빈테라티 캠페인은 코어 타깃은 1929여성들이 즐길 수 있는 다양한 콘텐츠를 만들어 자연스럽게 브랜드 인지도를 높이는 것이 목적”이라고 설명했다.

While the Black Bean Terra Tea drink was launched over a year ago, “this Black Bean FM Event” was the first time it has had a big online campaign; previously, minor website promotions, television commercials, and offline promotions were the main methods of promoting the drink. As Heo-jeong, representative for Dartz Communications (in charge of the online campaign) explained, “Black Bean Thera Tea’s competing brands can be categorized into either tea-drinks or black-bean drinks. But while most (including 17 tea) concentrated their efforts on either star-marketing, online events, and promotions of the products itself, the aim of Black Bean Terra Tea’s campaign was to focus on more varied events, so as to better increase brand awareness among its core target of 19-29 year old women.”

실제로 블랙빈 FM이벤트는 이름에서 드러나듯 라디오 동영상과 CM송을 캠페인의 킬러 콘텐츠로 활용하고 있다. 보이는 라디오는 브랜드 모델인 이효리가 DJ로 출연해 미용과 패션, 다이트 등의 다양한 소재로 진행하는 형식으로 구성돼 있으며, 유저들은 라디오를 ‘시청’하면서 댓글을 등록할 수 있다. 때문에 TV광고 제작 당시에 이미 촬영됐었던 이 영상은 마치 사이트에서 실시간으로 유저들과 대화를 나누는 듯한 인상을 주기도 한다. 허정 대리는 “사이트의 커뮤니케션 콘셉트가 ‘젊은 여성들끼리 수다를 떠는것’이었기 때문에 그들의 주된 관심사를 이효리는 통해 전달함으로써 자연스럽게 브랜드와 모델레 대한 호감도가 증가할 수 있었다”고 말했다.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As is obvious from the name, the Black Bean FM Event’s killer content was the use of radio, videos, and advertising jingles, or a “visual radio.” In addition to model Lee Hyori performing as its DJ, it also consisted of information about various things such as beauty, fashion, and dieting (and so on), which users could register and leave comments about. As Heo-jeong explains, the choice of Lee Hyori as a model naturally encouraged discussion of these topics among young-women – the core of the site’s communication concept – and because of this, a Black Bean FM Event video that gives the impression of Lee Hyori interacting with the user was produced for the website in advance of the TV commercials. Thus, the strategy greatly increased the chances for brand recognition to rise amongst young women.

CM송을 활용한 ‘블랙빈테라티 CM송 콘테스트’ 이벤트 또한 눈에 띄는 부분이다. 최근 CM송을 활용한 이동통신사 광고가 화제를 모으고 있지만, 음료 광고에서는 보기 드문 사례이기 때문이다. 이미 TV 광고와 사이트의 인트로를 통해 CM의 원곡을 감상한 유저들은 이벤트 페이지에서 힙합과 R&B, 트로트 등 4가지 버전의 CM송을 모두 감상한 후 순위를 매긴다. 이벤트에 참여한 유저들은 추첨을 통해 경품을 지급받게 되며, 동영상을 다운로드 또는 스크랩해 미니홈피와 블로그 등에 등록한 경우 재차 경품 기회가 제공된다. 허 데리는 “블랙빈테라티의 CM송을 버전별로 반복 감상함으로써 소비자들에게 브랜드와 제품에 대한 긍정적인 이미지를 형성하게 된다”고 설명하며 “콘테스트 동영상의 다운로드/스크랩을 유도한 전략은 소비자들 스스로 웹사이트의 홍보는 물론 블랙빈 FM과 이벤트 내용을 바이럴하는 ‘MGM (Member Get Member, 일명 ‘권유마케팅’으로 불리며 고객을 통해 또 다른 신규 고객을 확보하는 마케팅 방법)’ 효과를 거둘 수 있었다”고 덧붙였다. 이외에도 지난 5월 1일부터 한달간 진행했던 ‘CF모델 까메오 이벤트’ 역시 소비자들의 적극적인 참여를 유도했다.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The “Black Bean Terra Tea Advertising Song Contest” event was also a prominent feature of the website. While using advertising jingles is common for advertisements on mobile phones, it is very rare for tea-drinks. But here, users who have had already heard the jingles used in Black Bean Terra Tea’s TV advertisements and website could listen to different versions of them in different music styles such as hip-hop, R&B, trot, and so on, and personally rank them. They could also enter into a lottery and win prizes, and increase the number the times they entered by downloading videos and posting them on their blogs and websites. As Heo-jeong explained, “through being able to listen to the various versions of the jingles, users acquired a positive image of the brand and the product” and ” the viral PR strategy of getting consumers themselves to download and post videos to their own websites, known as ‘MGM,’ (Member Get Member, also called ‘Persuasive Marketing,’ a method by which customers attract new customers themselves) was very effective.” Besides this, from May the 1st there was also a month-long ‘Commercial Model Cameo Event’ which similarly encouraged consumers to actively participate (end).

And the third and final part, which discusses cross-media marketing, will hopefully be up later this week. In the meantime, if this post has piqued your interest in gendered advertising in Korea, then you may also enjoy this post on the evolving images of women in soju advertisements.