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Why Lee Young-ae Gets to Keep Her Ad Contract

2009/10/23 | Permalink | Source

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Korean builder GS Engineering and Construction will extend the advertising contract with actress Lee Young-ae for another year. The contract will likely be signed at the end of this month. The company was unsure whether to renew the contract with the star since it was concerned that her secret marriage to a Korean-American businessman in the U.S. in August could tarnish its brand image.

GS E&C is said to have wanted a change at first. Lee has been the model for the company for more than seven years. She was first hired in 2002, when the builder was launching its new apartment brand "Xii". The company concluded at the time that Lee's intelligent and refined image would be a good match.

The company apparently decided to renew the contract because CEO Huh Myung-soo is convinced of the actress' integrity and commitment to her advertiser. "Everyone gets married", Huh reportedly said. "It would be wrong to replace a long-time model with other person just because she got married".

Lee has been a boost to GS E&C's brand image when she rose to Asia-wide stardom with the 2003 mega-hit drama "Dae Jang Geum". The actress has remained committed to the company, apparently declining lucrative offers from other construction companies.

Economic considerations are also behind GS E&C's decision. If the model is replaced, the company will inevitably have to change all posters, pamphlets and billboards at its offices and construction sites at home and abroad, which could cost the company about W30 billion (US$1=W1,190), while Lee is paid only W800 million for a one-year contract.

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