Six Appeal

April 30, 2014

Kim Soo-hyun, Jun Ji-hyun, Suzy, Kim Yuna, Lee Seung-gi
and G-Dragon account for a total of 70 endorsement contracts

Kim Soo-hyun

Kim Soo-hyunIf some celebrity faces promoting Korean products seem like the same person, they probably are.

By Park Si-soo

If some celebrity faces promoting Korean products seem like the same person, they probably are.

A total of just six stars — Kim Soo-hyun, Jun Ji-hyun, Suzy, Kim Yuna, Lee Seung-gi and G-Dragon — are promoting a total of 70 products, as of the end of March. And the calls from other companies are still coming their way.

They advertise anything from candies and bakery goods, beverages and casual outfits that normally target media-sensitive young consumers to online shopping malls, cosmetics, air conditioners and mobile communication services that have a wider consumer base.

Most sought-after model

You will see him everywhere. One department store has him on an ad with “I Want That Man.”

Jun Ji-hyun

Jun Ji-hyun

Actor Kim Soo-hyun is the hottest male star for commercials. He appears in 30 ads, including 10 airing in China and other Asian counties, as of the end of March, according to his management agency Keyeast.

They include Beyond (cosmetics), Lemona (powdered vitamin supplement), Samsonite (American luggage brand), Calvin Klein (American fashion brand), Petitzel (jelly), Lotte Fitin (shopping mall), Beanpole (Korean fashion brand), Pocachip (potato chips), ZioZia (Korean fashion brand) and Tous les Jours (a bakery brand).

“The number of products he promotes jumped to 30 from 10 thanks to My Love from the Star,” said a Keyeast official, referring to SBS TV’s smash hit drama.

The 21-episode drama was exported to nearly 20 countries, including China, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Israel and Belgium.



Kim recently signed additional endorsement contracts including a pharmaceutical company, beverage maker, and financial and logistics services providers, the official said. The demand for the 26-year-old actor is rising rapidly in China and Japan, he added.

“His guarantee for a TV commercial jumped to 600-700 million won ($579,000 – $675,000) after appearing in MBC TV’s hit drama ‘The Moon Embracing the Sun’ in 2012,” said Yoon Seol-hee, a TV commercial agent. “It jumped to 800 million won or so after the success of his two movies ‘The Thieves’ and ‘Secretly, Greatly.’”

She said his current guarantee for a commercial is estimated to be one billion won (nearly $1 million).

Kwak Eun-jung, another TV commercial agent, says Kim is expected to stay at the top for a while.  “The biggest advantage of Kim lies with his wide fan base,” she explained. “Unlike young stars whose fans are normally teenagers or young adults, Kim is adored by young and old people alike.”

Kim Yuna

Kim Yuna

Kwak said it’s largely attributable to the actor’s public image of a polite and well-rounded personality, no history of being embroiled in any unsavory scandal and, above all, the consecutive successes of dramas and films he appears in.

“Companies normally replace their commercial model every year. But Kim Soo-hyun is becoming an exception,” she said. “Nearly 90 percent of companies renewed their contract with him.”


Actress Jun Ji-hyun, who co-starred in “My Love,” is the second most-wanted star with 12 commercials.

They include Nepa (outdoor clothing brand), SK Telecom, Hanyul (cosmetics), Droptop (coffee shop franchise), Zipel (refrigerator), Coupang (social commerce website), Hong-cho (drinking vinegar), Reebok (British sportswear brand), Cup Noodle (instant noodle) and Paris Baguette (a bakery brand).

Jun’s figure and adorable image has put her on the primary list of entertainers among TV commercial producers in recent years. The SBS drama’s success has fueled the already high demand for her, which resulted in inflating her guarantee. She is said to be paid around 700 to 800 million won for a TV commercial.

Early this month, a private research center specializing in TV commercials selected Jun as the most preferred commercial model, defeating the previous champion figure skater Kim Yu-na.

The center said in statement, “What she wore and ate in My Love from the Star went viral not only in Korea but also many other Asian countries.”

In fact many cosmetic and women’s clothing brands saw a sales hike after Jun appeared in the drama wearing or using them.

One of the most notable beneficiaries was Yves-Saint Laurent, whose No. 52 lipstick barely made it onto the shelves before the customers grabbed it. Ever since Jun was seen wearing it, it sold out late January at the Yves-Saint Laurent cosmetic counter at Shinsegae Department Store in Gangnam, southern Seoul. The cosmetics counter sold 2,577 lipstick applicators in the month of January, racking up sales of about 103 million won.

Suzy of K-pop girl band Miss A is closely trailing Jun with 11 commercials. Among them are Domino Pizza, Beanpole, Vita 500 (vitamin supplement drink), Sumichip (potato chips), Ticket Monster (a social commerce website), The Face Shop (cosmetics brand), Korea Post and On the Body (a skin care brand).

The 20-year-old jumped to stardom after starring in the romance film “Architecture 101” (2012), in which her role evoked the sweet nostalgia of first love.

Figure skater Kim Yuna follows with six commercials, including Maxim (instant coffee mix), E1 (a gas supplier), Prospecs (sportswear brand), Samsung air conditioners and Saffron (a fabric conditioner).

Kim’s popularity is on a downward trend, which was accelerated in early March by her admission of dating an ice hockey player. Nevertheless experts say Kim is expected to maintain her status quo for the time being because her achievement on the ice rink was so exceptional that it won’t fade out quickly.

K-pop singer Lee Seung-gi is the fifth most preferred star with six commercials, while another K-pop star G-Dragon came next with five ads.