Hallyu – An Effective Method for Marketing and Advertising in Asia
In 2012, A Korean song called “Gangnam Style” went viral on YouTube with more than a billion viewers at the time. People in western countries including America started to pay attention to South Korean Music. However, for young people in South and Southeast Asian countries, KPOP or Korean Pop Music was not something new to them. As a matter of fact, KPOP has dominated in many Asian countries since the early 21st century.
KPOP, together with Korean TV dramas and movies, is referred to as Hallyu or Korean Cultural Wave in Asia. The popularity of Korean TV dramas, Korean pop music, and their associated celebrities has made a strong influence on the Asian consumer culture. When travelling to China, Thailand, or Vietnam, it is very common to catch a high school student decorating her backpack with pictures of a well-known Korean pop star.
Especially, Korean TV dramas are very popular not only among teenagers but also among adults in Asian countries. When a popular Korean drama is aired in an Asian country, people tend to buy any products that are used by their favorite characters in the drama. The Korean products, from electronic products to food, therefore quickly become popular in many Asian countries. Understanding the big impact of Hallyu in Asia, many Korean companies has collaborated with Korean leading entertainment companies such as SM and YG in order to use the famous celebrities from these companies to endorse their products. Hallyu or Korean Cultural Wave therefore has become an effective method for marketing and advertising not only for Korean companies but also for any international corporation that plans to enter the South and Southeast Asian markets.
The reason KPOP has become so popular in Asia is that it features Korean idols that are good-looking and have independent personalities. Korean pop stars are also the symbols of beauty and fashion for their young Asian fans to follow. The Korean stars are extremely good at communicating with their fans in order to be close to them through social media. They like to reveal their normal lives to their fans to show how they live and what they eat, wear, or use in daily days. International companies can use their “fan services” as a tool to promote their products. For instance, a fashion company can contract with a KPOP star to wear their clothes either on stage or in daily activities. Food companies can also take advantage of this “fan service” as well. For example, a fast-food restaurant company can contract with a South Korean channel to have their restaurants appear on its up coming TV drama. If the drama turns out to be a hit when it airs, then the promotion campaign will be successful not only in Korea but also in many other Asian countries.
The Korean Wave has become a global idea for marketing and promoting in Asia. However, when using the image of a well-known Korean star to promote and advertise in another Asian country, companies must necessarily make changes in the campaigns in order to better fit the traditions and cultures of a specific country like China or Malaysia. The reason is that different countries have different cultures and traditions, and the promotions need to be adjusted into these traditions and cultures no matter how famous the Korean Cultural Wave is. One more thing to be noticed, the price for hiring a famous Korean celebrity is of course very high. Companies need to plan carefully before launching a marketing campaign with a well-known Korean star. Up to now, the use of Korean stars for promotion is most effective in prosperous countries like China and Japan. For less developed countries like the Philippines or Vietnam, the payoff may not turn out to be very well even though the Korean Cultural Wave is also very popular in these countries.