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Korean TV Commercial Wave Hits Asia

2006/04/03 Source

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The Korean Wave rolls on despite some indications of a backlash against the popularity of Korean pop culture in Asia, with new commercials featuring Moon Geun-young, and Eric Mun enjoying a good response. Along with soap operas and pop music, TV commercials are gaining ground as an oddly popular manifestation of the Korean Wave, and stars are increasing their exposure through such means.

The lead was taken by the lavishly produced commercials for Samsung's Anycall series of mobile phones.

While an ad featuring Moon Geun-young and his Bluetooth Phone is on the airwaves in Taiwan, a spot with Kwon Sang-woo and his trusty slim phone is being aired in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Even moviegoers in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates are treated to an Anycall promo featuring the beatbox stylings of Eric Mun.

Last year's popular "Anymotion" commercial is available to download in the Chinese-speaking world. Plans for a Russian version are in the pipeline.

The commercials have even made their way into the Japanese market, which is often thought to be ahead of Korea in the TV advertising field.

On Monday, Japan saw the launch of a Spam ad -- a commercial for luncheon meat rather than an unsolicited e-mail -- featuring Eric Mun. It was shown in Korea last year. Joel Johnson, the CEO of Hormel Foods, which makes the processed meat, was visiting partner company CJ in Korea when he viewed the ad, and decided on the spot to use it in the Japanese market as well. The product enjoys the status of a delicacy in both countries.

The CEO praised the commercial, citing the casting of a young male model instead of the usual housewife in the ad. He reportedly described it as the best commercial to target the Japanese market. If it is successful there, it might even be shown in the U.S.

An insider with Korea's largest advertising company Cheil Communications said the "Anymotion" campaign was cited as a successful case of integrated marketing at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival last year -- a sign that Korean commercials stand out for both planning and creativity and accounting for their export to China and Southeast Asia.

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