Hallyu stars boost food brand sales in Korea

  • Published : Oct 11, 2011 - 17:46
  • Updated : Oct 11, 2011 - 20:35
VIPS, a local steakhouse chain owned by CJ Foodville, has seen a 30 percent increase in its sales since singer/actor Rain became a commercial model for the company in July.

“Many of the new customers are Rain’s fans from China and Japan who have watched the TV commercials through YouTube,” said a CJ Foodville spokesperson.

On Sunday, Rain held his last concert before beginning his two-year military duty this week, with thousands of foreign fans in attendance.

CJ handed out paper table mats of VIPS, in which Rain poses while eating steak, during the street concert and the 5,000 leaflets ran out in a flash, the company said.
Rain for VIPS, Hyun Bin for Corn Silk Tea

“We would not say the models were selected because they are Korean Wave stars. But it’s true that we are witnessing their ticket-power become more evident among foreign customers,” the CJ official said, adding that some stores have already become popular tourist spots.

The franchise unit of CJ Group has also appointed famous actors Won Bin and So Ji-sub, who are popular in Japan, as the commercial models for bakery chain Tous les Jours and coffee house chain A Twosome Place, respectively.

Korean Wave stars are already top celebrities favored as commercial models by local food companies. With the popularity of K-pop growing abroad, their appearance has become more powerful.

Kwang Dong Pharmaceutical is another company that is capitalizing on the appeal of Korean Wave stars.

The nine-member girl group Girls’ Generation is working for Vita500, an energy drink.

After huge success with the drink bottles bearing images of the group’s individual members, there are a growing number of requests from foreign fans about its purchase.

However, the drink is sold only in the Korean market. But it is also traded through online marketplaces such as eBay in the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia.

The company’s Twitter account is full of requests from foreign fans, with some visiting the headquarters in Seoul directly, the company said.

The company’s tea made of corn silk is also a hit in Japan after rising star Hyun Bin became a model.

Last year, the company recorded 1 billion won ($8.5 million) in Japanese sales. Thanks to a recent surge in popularity in the country, it expects its Japanese sales would surpass 15 billion won this year.

By Lee Ji-yoon (